Only eight teams in NBA Playoff history have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win their series. It has never happened in the NBA Finals or Western Conference Finals.
Three times, though, a team has done this – the ultimate in NBA postseason comebacks, as no team has ever come back from 3-0 (see here) – in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In 2013, the Brooklyn Nets had a shot at becoming the ninth team, but fell to the undermanned and underdog Chicago Bulls in Round 1. The Oklahoma City Thunder are now down 3-1 to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Semis and the Bulls are themselves now down 3-1 to the Miami Heat i the Eastern Semis. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are looking to avoid a 3-1 deficit. They are down 2-1 to the Indiana Pacers.
Of the eight teams to come back from 3-1, only two were underdogs according to seeding, and so won that seventh game on the road (noted with an asterisk).
The 1967-68 Boston Celtics is the other team to win that Game 7 on the road. They went on to win their 10th title in 12 years.
The 1980-81 Boston Celtics are the third (and last) team on the list below that went on the win the NBA Finals.
The 1996-97 New York Knicks should have won their Semifinals series against the Miami Heat, but a melee in Game 5 led to five staggered suspensions for New York in Games 6 and 7. For the full story, check out the 15 Biggest Disappointments in NY Knicks History.Follow @VinGetz
|WINNER (SEED)||LOSER (SEED)||YEAR||ROUND||GAME 7 SCORE|
|1.||Phoenix Suns (2)||Los Angeles Lakers (7)||2006||Eastern 1||121-90|
|2.||Detroit Pistons (1)||Orlando Magic (8)||2003||Eastern 1||108-93|
|3.||Miami Heat (2)||New York Knicks (3)||1997||Eastern Semis||101-90|
|4.||Houston Rockets (6)||Phoenix Suns (3)||1995||Western Semis||115-114*|
|5.||Boston Celtics (1)||Philadelphia 76ers (2)||1981||Eastern Finals||91-90|
|6.||Washington Bullets (1)||San Antonio Spurs (2)||1979||Eastern Finals||107-105|
|7.||Los Angeles Lakers (2)||Phoenix Suns (3)||1970||Western Semis||129-94|
|8.||Boston Celtics (2)||Philadelphia 76ers (1)||1968||Eastern Finals||100-96*|
Thanks to sports.yahoo.com.
It is important to note, though, that prior to 1969, there were no playoff series – only the World Series. And then, between 1969 and 1984, the ALCS and NLCS were both only three-of-five series.
The 2012 San Francisco Giants are trying to become just the second National League team to come back from being down three games to one and also join this list of those six teams to do it.
Three of them were Boston Red Sox.
Follow me on Twitter @VinGetz.
|1.||1985||ALCS||Kansas City Royals||Toronto Blue Jays||George Brett|
|2.||1986||ALCS||Boston Red Sox||California Angels||Marty Barrett|
|3.||1996||NLCS||Atlanta Braves||St. Louis Cardinals||Javy Lopez|
|4.||2003||ALCS||Florida Marlins||Chicago Cubs||Ivan Rodriguez|
|5.||2004||ALCS||Boston Red Sox*||New York Yankees||David Ortiz|
|6.||2007||ALCS||Boston Red Sox||Cleveland Indians||Josh Beckett|
No team has ever come back from a three games to none deficit to win the World Series. In fact, it has only happened once in all of the postseason: the Boston Red Sox were on the brink in the 2004 ALCS, down 3-0 to archenemy the New York Yankees, and won the next four to advance. As almost an afternote, the Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.
That’s the greatest comeback in all of baseball’s postseason history. The Red Sox are one of six teams to come back from at least a 3-1 deficit in either the American League Championship Series (ALCS) or National League Championship Series (NLCS).
The Pittsburgh Pirates did it twice. How nice.Follow @VinGetz
|1.||1903**||Boston Americans||Pittsburgh Pirates||None|
|2.||1925||Pittsburgh Pirates||Washington Senators||None|
|3.||1958||New York Yankees||Milwaukee Braves||Bob Turley|
|4.||1968||Detroit Tigers||St. Louis Cardinals||Mickey Lolich|
|5.||1979||Pittsburgh Pirates||Baltimore Orioles||Willie Stargell|
|6.||1985||Kansas City Royals||St. Louis Cardinals||Bret Saberhagen|
* The World Series MVP was first awarded in 1955
** The first World Series in 1903 was a best-of-nine (first team to five wins, wins). The Boston Americans (renamed the Boston Red Sox in 1908) were down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates and won the next four games.
Thanks to baseball-reference.com!