There is no hiding in a seven-game series.
Heavy scouting and intense film study gives teams an idea of what they'll be facing in an upcoming matchup, but nothing tells the true strengths and weaknesses of an opponent like facing them multiple times over a two-week period.
Friday night's four-game schedule saw eight teams battling for their lives in the final stages of first-round pairings.
The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks waged war in Beantown, where the implications for both clubs extended well beyond the current season. A Celtics loss could mean the end of an era, as both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce faced uncertain futures with the franchise. A Knicks loss meant they were one step closer to being the victims of the biggest postseason comeback in NBA history.
The Indiana Pacers entered play with a 3-2 lead over the Atlanta Hawks, but hadn't won inside Atlanta's Philips Arena in nearly seven years. The Los Angeles Clippers needed to steal one on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies to stay in the championship chase, while a Memphis win would have provided further validation to its midseason Rudy-Gay-for-Tayshaun-Prince swap.
As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they were left attempting to avoid the history books without the help of their All-Star point guard. The Houston Rockets, winners of two straight, looked to take another step toward becoming the first team to crawl out of a 0-3 hole.
Which teams were able to punch their second-round ticket, and which were left preparing body and mind for a winner-take-all Game 7?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Friday night's win-or-go-home action.