The 2012 NBA Playoffs schedule had a pretty large mid-week lull as far as fun games were concerned, but Friday's slate of action should begin the weekend in style. Two of the games to open the weekend will break ties in their respective series' while a third ... well, let's just hope the Denver Nuggets are able to put up a fight at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The third stanza in the potential seven-game series between the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics will begin the evening's action at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The game is slated to feature the return of Rajon Rondo from suspension -- and possibly Ray Allen from injury -- but it's probably safe to assume that the Hawks will focus their efforts on Game 2 hero Paul Pierce as they attempt to re-take the series lead in Boston.
Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls are headed to Pennsylvania to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of their series, too, but the odds have shifted quite a bit since their opening-game victory that unfortunately saw Derrick Rose lost for the season. The Bulls were obliterated by 17 points in the rematch earlier this week, but have a chance to show that life will go on if they're able to pick up a win at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The nightcap doesn't promise to be an amazing game, but the Nuggets will need to show they're able to get something done before the last few minutes against LA if they're going to make the series competitive. The Nuggets have yet to lead the Lakers in the first two games -- making the 104-100 outcome on Tuesday a bit misleading -- but maybe that will change with Friday night's game in Colorado (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).
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