Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Three of the four NBA playoffs conference semifinal series are deadlocked after the first two games.
Boston, Philadelphia and Portland go back home with road wins to their names and a chance to open up their respective series with a pair of home victories.
Houston was the only team unable to steal a victory on the road, and it feels like the Rockets are facing an uphill climb against Golden State despite being competitive in both contests at Oracle Arena.
The first Game 3 of the conference semifinal round will be played Thursday in Philadelphia. Two more are set to take place Friday, while the Warriors and Rockets have to wait until Saturday to get back to the hardwood.
NBA Playoff Bracket
No. 1 Milwaukee tied with No. 4 Boston 1-1
No. 2 Toronto tied with No. 3 Philadelphia 1-1
No. 1 Golden State leads No. 4 Houston 2-0
No. 2 Denver tied with No. 3 Portland 1-1
NBA Playoff Schedule
Thursday, May 2
Game 3: Toronto at Philadelphia (8 p.m., ESPN)
Friday, May 3
Game 3: Milwaukee at Boston (8 p.m., ESPN)
Game 3: Denver at Portland (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
Saturday, May 4
Game 3: Golden State at Houston (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Sunday, May 5
Game 4: Toronto at Philadelphia (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Game 4: Denver at Portland (7 p.m., TNT)
Monday, May 6
Game 4: Milwaukee at Boston (7 p.m., TNT)
Game 4: Golden State at Houston (9:30 p.m., TNT)
Tuesday, May 7
Game 5: Portland at Denver (TBD, TNT)
Game 5: Philadelphia at Toronto (8 p.m., TNT)
Wednesday, May 8
Game 5: Houston at Golden State (TBD, TNT)*
Game 5: Boston at Milwaukee (8 p.m., TNT)
All Times ET
*– if necessary
To Win Eastern Conference
Milwaukee (+135; Bet $100 to win $135)
To Win Western Conference
Golden State (-400; Bet $400 to win $100)
Boston and Toronto
Both Eastern Conference semifinal series could go the distance.
Boston gets the edge over Milwaukee because of its talent up and down the roster.
Of course, Kyrie Irving is likely going to show up with double-digit point performances each game, but the supporting cast around him does such a good job of getting involved to form an all-around threat.
Jaylen Brown and Al Horford each scored over 10 points in the first two games in Milwaukee, and at some point, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum will get going as well.
If Irving, Brown, Horford, Hayward and Tatum are all at their best, the Celtics are hard to stop, and then you throw in Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris, and this team has the potential to reach the NBA Finals.
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Milwaukee showed in Game 2 that its best players are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in big games, as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe all scored over 20 points.
But when it comes to overall depth, Boston carries the advantage, and that will show over the next two games as the Celtics open up a series lead on their home floor.
Toronto did not do its itself any favors by falling in Game 2 to the Sixers to earn a split at Scotiabank Arena, but it could easily reverse that with a win at Wells Fargo Center.
Outside of Jimmy Butler’s 30 points in Game 2, the Raptors have done a good job of limiting the scoring of Philadelphia’s stars.
Butler has the only 20-plus point performance in the series for the Sixers, and if the Raptors keep it that way, they will be in great shape heading back home.
Toronto can’t stop every player on the Sixers roster from scoring at once, but if it limits the all-around production of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Butler, it puts itself in a great position to win.
Offensively, the Raptors have found a secondary scorer to Kawhi Leonard in Pascal Siakam, who has 50 points in the series.
If Leonard and Siakam continue at their current scoring pace, the Raptors need one or two more players to step up to round out the scoring threat.
John Raoux/Associated Press
Kyle Lowry scored 20 points in Game 2, but the Raptors need one of Marc Gasol and Danny Green to produce in the paint to form the all-around offensive threat.
If the Raptors improve their scoring depth and keep holding the Philadelphia stars to under 20 points, they should be able to earn a spot in the next round.
Golden State and Portland
The Warriors have not been able to pull too far away from the Rockets, but they have come alive in key situations to earn a 2-0 series lead.
Steve Kerr’s team might not sweep the Rockets, but the series has the feeling of being over in five games with the way the Warriors stars have played in the second half.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
The Rockets will put up a fight at home with James Harden leading the charge, but the only thing that can beat the Warriors in this series is themselves.
As long as Draymond Green channels his frustration away from the referees and into his play, the Warriors will not face an unexpected slip-up on their way into the next round.
Portland’s Game 2 win in Denver Wednesday was massive for the team’s morale, as it was 1-4 against the Nuggets this season before the 97-90 victory.
The Blazers proved in Game 2 they can slow down the scoring threat of Nikola Jokic despite facing a mismatch in the paint.
If Terry Stotts’ team is able to hold Jokic under 20 points in each game for the rest of the series, it stands a great chance of moving on.
As we have witnessed so far in the playoffs, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are likely going to hover around 20 points in each game.
David Zalubowski/Associated Press
The key for Portland is to get points in the paint to complement all of the baskets scored on the perimeter.
Enes Kanter and Al-Farouq Aminu combined for 26 points in Game 2, and if the Blazers put together more well-rounded scoring efforts in the series, they will be in great shape to pull off the upset of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
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