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NBA Playoffs 2015: Memphis Grizzlies look to close out Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks itching to reassert control over Brooklyn Nets

Two important games tonight for completely different reasons.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NBA Playoffs rolls along. The Golden State Warriors (#1 seed), Houston Rockets (#2), Cleveland Cavaliers (#2), and Washington Wizards (#5) are all through to the second round. What once could have been a very boring first round has turned into one worth watching. The Chicago Bulls (#3), Memphis Grizzlies (#5), and San Antonio Spurs (#6) are one game away from punching their ticket to the next round. That is seven of the first eight series, but there's still one that could go either way: the Atlanta Hawks (#1) are somehow in a dogfight against the Brooklyn Nets (#8) thanks to a resurgent effort from Brook Lopez and Deron Williams. No one expected the Hawks to have trouble with the Nets who got into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. But Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver know not to count Deron out. A strong playoff showing over the next few games could actually turn his career back around again and head him back in the right direction. As a Utah Jazz fan you love redemption stories. I'd like to see it happen.

We may get to see a glimmer of that tonight, in about an hour.

  • Game 5: Nets (2-2) @ Hawks (2-2) -- 5:00 PM MT [TNT]
  • Game 5: Trail Blazers (1-3) @ Grizzlies (3-1) -- 7:30 PM MT [TNT]

I didn't really talk much about the "other" game tonight, a potential close out game for the grit and grind Grizzlies. Portland is injury and in a state of flux with what they can do in free agency next season. This could be the last hurrah for this core. The Grizz have a window to win from as well, as Marc Gasol (like Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, and Robin Lopez) is a Free Agent this year.

Two good games. Two good series. Two things I didn't expect a week ago.