Friday's slate of NBA playoff games are all on the verge of series upsets. No. 3-seeded Toronto dropped a game at home and now must travel to Brooklyn and avoid going down 2-1 in its series with the Nets. Meanwhile, both the Wizards and Blazers stole the first two games in their respective series and head to their home floors with a 2-0 lead.
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets, Game 3
7 p.m. ET (ESPN 2)
Toronto dropped Game 1 at the Air Canada Centre but got back on track on Tuesday as the Raptors beat the Nets, 100-95. DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, and meaningful contributions from Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez helped push the Raptors past the stingy Nets defense.
Brooklyn did its best to steal both games against Toronto, but heading home to the Barclays Center with the series tied at 1-1 will be more than enough for the veteran squad. The Nets have played Toronto tough at home all season, and were it not for late-game heroics by Patrick Patterson they would have swept the regular season series 2-0 in New York. Toronto is favored in the series but the playoff savvy of the Nets has helped Brooklyn strike some fear into Dwane Casey's squad heading into Friday night.
Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards, Game 3
8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Chicago is dazed and confused following two home losses to open the series against the Washington Wizards. The Bulls offense has been stagnant and Chicago's defense has been less than stellar against Washington's streaky offense. The Wizards are shooting an average of 48 percent from the field in the first two games. The Bulls have to get back to basics if they want to try and stop the Wizards, and that means tightening up Tom Thibodeau's defense.
For the Wizards, it's been a wild ride so far. Washington stunned the crowd at the United Center with a nine-point victory, 102-93, in Game 1. They also eked out a 101-99 win in Game 2 and have control of the series as they head back to the capital. Washington will need to find some consistency in its offense, as Chicago is sure to have found a tougher defensive strategy for Game 3.
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers, Game 3
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Houston has struggled mightily against the Blazers this series. The Rockets have failed to attack Portland from beyond the three-point line, shooting just 21.5 percent on 51 attempts over the first two games. Houston has dominated in the paint but the team hasn't been able to capitalize in offensive rebounding or in the fast break, which were two of its greatest strengths in the regular season. James Harden has been stifled by the Blazers defense, which is saying something considering Portland's reputation as an offense-first team.
Portland has benefited from two monster games from LaMarcus Aldridge. The All-Star forward has had games of 46 and 43 points, respectively, and he has been basically unstoppable no matter who Houston throws at him. The Blazers have used the fast break to counter the Rockets' own, which pushed Houston back into the defensive end of the floor during Game 2. The Moda Center is a tough place to play, especially in the playoffs. Portland is on a roll, and taking a 2-0 series lead back home is a good sign for a team that hasn't been out of the first round in 14 years.