2014 NBA playoff schedule: Blazers, Raptors and Spurs look to advance to 2nd round

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto and Portland will try to win their first playoff series in more than a decade, while the Spurs travel to Dallas to tackle the Mavericks.

Three games highlight the NBA's Friday night in the playoffs, with three teams looking to advance to the second round. Let's check out the action.

Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets

7 p.m. ET (ESPN 2)

Toronto has looked more itself lately, with two consecutive wins against the Nets to take a 3-2 series lead going into Friday night. Kyle Lowry dropped 36 points on Wednesday, as the Raptors held on late during a Brooklyn surge to eke out a win, 115-113.

For the Nets, it's time to show up on the defensive side of the floor, particularly from the three-point line. Toronto shot an incredible 46.2 percent from beyond the arc on Wednesday, at one point putting the Nets in a 26-point hole. Brooklyn has championship aspirations, but the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference stands firmly in its way.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

The Spurs got back on track on Wednesday night, with Tony Parker taking over the game despite an injured ankle and just a few hours of sleep due to the birth of his child. San Antonio's perennial All-Star had 23 points, as the No. 1 seed in the West took a series lead, 3-2, with a chance to close in Dallas on Friday night.

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks have been a surprise in the first round, foiling the Spurs' chances at an easy 1 vs. 8 matchup out west. But despite taking two games from San Antonio, there have been moments in the series where Dallas has been bulldozed by the Spurs. Nowitzki's light in Dallas is getting dimmer, and on Friday, the Spurs might just snuff it out once and for all.

Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Houston saved itself at home in Game 5 despite all-around sloppy play. Its saving grace was the fact that Dwight Howard played immaculate defense on LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to just eight points on 25 percent shooting. James Harden hasn't played particularly well in the series, but clutch play in the last four minutes on Wednesday saw the Rockets keep their heads afloat, 108-98.

For Portland, Friday will be an opportunity to close out its first series since 2000, and to do so on its home court. The Blazers were within one point of the Rockets with less than eight minutes to go, but Portland couldn't hang on as the Blazers went ice cold on jumpers. They will need to find a way to get Aldridge going -- or to just stop Jeremy Lin -- if they want a chance of beating the Rockets on Friday.

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