The Milwaukee Bucks get an opportunity to become the first to reach the NBA's final four Wednesday night when they look to close out the visiting Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Later, the Golden State Warriors return to the scene of two first-round losses when they host the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The action gets underway at 8pm et/ 5pm pt on TSN1, TSN3 and streaming on TSN.ca.
The top-seeded Bucks, who haven't won a playoff series from the Celtics since the 1983 East semifinals, will go for a 4-1 win in the best-of-seven, at the same site where they blew out the fourth-seeded club 123-102 last Tuesday.
After Boston had stolen Game 1 on the road, Milwaukee accomplished its series-flipping blowout in large part by harassing Kyrie Irving into just nine points on 4-for-18 shooting.
The Celtics star hasn't been appreciably better since. While he scored 29 and 23 points in Boston's two home losses on Friday and Monday, Irving shot 8-for-22 and 7-for-22 in those games, including a combined 3-for-15 on 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, rival standout Giannis Antetokounmpo has had no such trouble putting the ball in the hoop. He shot 8-for-13 and 15-for-22 in the wins, helping the Bucks outgun the Celtics 50.6 percent to 43.2 in a 123-116 victory in Game 3 and 44 percent to 37.8 in a 113-101 decision in Game 4.
The Bucks know they'll get a visit from a desperate group of Celtics in Game 5, but that doesn't bother Khris Middleton.
"We don't really worry about them at all -- who we're playing against, who they have on their roster and whatnot," he insisted in the wake of the Game 4 win. "All we do is worry about ourselves and our team and what we need to do."
In order for this not to potentially be Irving's final game in Celtic green, Boston must win and get the series back to Boston.
It's not the first time the Celtics have found themselves in a 3-1 hole in their storied postseason history. In fact, of the 11 times a team has rebounded to win an NBA series from such a deficit, the Celtics and Houston Rockets are the only teams to have accomplished the feat twice.
Boston's victim on both previous occasions was the Philadelphia 76ers, in the 1968 East finals and 1981 East finals.
If it's going to happen again, Irving assured he's not going to be gun-shy about taking shots.
"You're being picked up full court. They're doing things to test you. The expectations on me are going to be sky high," he noted at his postgame press conference Monday. "I try to utilize their aggression against them and still put my teammates in great position while still being aggressive.
"I'm trying to do it all. For me, the 22 shots? I should have shot 30. I'm that great of a shooter."
Irving demonstrated that in Game 1, shooting 12-for-21 en route to a 26-point, 11-assist double-double.
But he's gone from double-double to double-teamed in the last three games, with Milwaukee's two-headed point guard tandem of Eric Bledsoe and George Hill combining to outscore him 89-61 and outshoot him 51.5 percent to 30.6.
The Bucks could get back another key guard in Malcolm Brogdon, who has been out since March with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. He has been nearing a return, but head coach Mike Budenholzer said the team is still evaluating him and will know more on Wednesday.
If a Game 6 is needed, it would be played Friday in Boston.
Warriors host Rockets in pivotal Game 5 match-up - 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt. - TSN1, TSN3, TSN.ca
In what has turned into a best-of-three for the second straight year in a duel of Western powers, the home team has won each of the first four contests in this series, capped by the Rockets' series-tying, 112-108 home win on Monday night.
In last year's Western finals, Houston broke the 2-2 tie with a win in Game 5, but that was at home. Golden State then swept the final two games to reach the NBA Finals, where they captured their second straight championship and third in four years.
After losing Games 2 and 5 at home to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round this year, the top-seeded Warriors began a run of home-court wins against the Rockets with hard-fought, 104-100 and 115-109 triumphs.
They outshot the Rockets 48.2 percent to 44.4 and outrebounding the visitors 41.5 per game to 33.5 in those contests.
The fourth-seeded Rockets flipped the tables with 126-121 and 112-108 home wins, dominating the Warriors on the boards to the tune of 52.5 per game to 39.0, while also slightly outshooting Golden State 46.2 percent to 45.4.
There's no doubt in Draymond Green's mind what the Warriors need to do better in Game 5.
"We didn't match their physicality until the last four minutes of the game," he told reporters after the Game 4 loss. "It's been that way for about the last 96 minutes of the series, so we have to correct that."
The Warriors might find themselves having to do so either without or with a limited Andre Iguodala, who hyperextended his left knee late in the game Monday.
He said after the loss that he'd be fine for Game 5, but his status -- play or not; start or not -- will be a game-time decision.
The Warriors' chief defender against James Harden, Iguodala has played 29 or more minutes in all four games of the series. He played more than 29 minutes just seven times during the regular season.
He's also started all four games alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Green, after never having joined that All-Star quartet in the starting lineup in any regular-season game during his Warriors career.
Iguodala, Durant and Thompson all took their shots at defending Harden in Game 4, none with consistent success. Harden bombed in a game-high 38 points, complementing that with 10 rebounds to complete a double-double.
Rebounding, after Houston nabbed 13 offensive boards in Game 4, is what forward P.J. Tucker believes must continue if the Rockets are to get a needed win in either Game 5 or Game 7 in Oakland.
"We got to be better on the road," Tucker told reporters Monday. "We have to be more physical. We have to impose our will more. Those first two games wasn't us. We had chances to win those games, but we didn't play our brand of basketball for the whole game.
"We stepped it up at home. We played OK, and we got some wins. But we have to be better."The series is assured of returning to Houston for Game 6 on Friday. Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday in Oakland.