Both Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers could have to wait two more games before finding out who they play in Round 2 of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, as the Portland Trailblazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics series are both currently at 3-2. On the other hand, every team left in the NBA post-season could know their opponents for the Conference Semifinals as early as Friday night, as all four undecided series have Game 6 on Thursday or Friday.
After the Hawks try to finish off the Celtics on Thursday, the NBA has three games lined up on Friday night for the 2016 Playoffs. The Blazers try to eliminate the Clippers, the Toronto Raptors hope to be finished with the Indiana Pacers, and the Charlotte Hornets hope to wrap up their series with the Miami Heat.
The Pacers-Raptors, Heat-Hornets and Clippers-Blazers games are all being aired under the ESPN umbrella on Friday night.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat
The Heat got off to a strong 2-0 lead after the first two games of the series in Miami, but the Charlotte Hornets have bounced back to take the lead with three wins in a row. Tensions ran high at the end of the very close Game 5. Dwayne Wade didn’t get the call from the referee that he wanted. Down by two with just seconds remaining, Wade felt a blocked shot should have been a foul. The Heat lost 90-88 on Wednesday night. One of the NBA’s most famous WAGs let Twitter know that she wasn’t pleased.
Dwayne Wade’s beautiful actress-wife Gabrielle Union sent out about half-a-dozen tweets (not including responses to her followers’ reactions) about how referees should be fined for bad calls and how those fines should be made public. When Jorge Sedano of ESPN sent a tweet of warning about Wade saying Union would have to put up with him all night, his wife seemed to be ready to deal with his mood.
No word on whether or not LeBron James was tempted to end his social media blackout to show support for his BFF from Miami.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trailblazers
While Steph Curry continues to nurse an injury, the Golden State Warriors wait to see who they’ll start a series against without the 2015 NBA Finals MVP. The Los Angeles Clippers are dealing with All-Star injuries of their own, as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could both have already seen their end to the NBA Playoffs in 2016. As ESPN reported, Blake Griffin will be out for the remainder of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, and Chris Paul is out indefinitely.
Down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, a loss to the Blazers in Portland could be the beginning of the end of the Paul-Griffin era for the LA Clippers.
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Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers
Throughout the regular season, many wondered if the Toronto Raptors would end up with the No. 1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference for NBA Playoffs. Struggling against the Indiana Pacers, people have started calling Toronto the “Cincinnati Bengals of the NBA.”
The Raptors can shut all of the naysayers up on Friday night by eliminating the Indiana Pacers and moving on to face the winners of the Hornets-Heat series.
Where to Watch
The 2016 NBA Playoffs continue Friday Night, beginning with the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster to see the game live at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Coverage of the game begins at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPNews and NBA TV.
Starting shortly after the Raptors vs. Pacers is the other Eastern Conference first round match-up between the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets. Cheap seats are still available directly from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte through Ticketmaster. ESPN begins coverage of the game at 8 p.m. EST.
The focus shifts to the Western Conference match-up between the L.A. Clippers and Portland Blazers to end Friday night. As of Thursday afternoon, the cheapest tickets still available through the Moda Center in Portland begin at $125. Television coverage of the game is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. EST, pending the end of the Raptors/Pacers game.
[Photo credit Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]