NBA Teams Down 0-2 in Playoff Series Have a Brutal History



In the NBA, establishing a strong presence early in a playoff series is vital to any team’s success. That’s because according to recent history, it’s incredibly hard to battle back when you’re in a hole.

NBA teams are 18-271 all-time after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. Only five of 64 squads have prevailed since 2009 when in that spot – the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Western Conference finals, the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals and the Boston Celtics in the first round of this year’s playoffs.

After getting blown out in consecutive games to open the 2017 edition of the NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Cavaliers find themselves in that spot with the series shifting back to Northeast Ohio.

While back-to-back opening losses look daunting, three setbacks in a row is downright frightening. No team in the Association has ever won a series when trailing three games to none.

Here’s a look at the other NBA clubs that came back from best-of-seven deficits after going down 2-0 in the series:

NBA teams that have won the series after trailing 2-0
Year Series winner Series loser Round
1969 Boston L.A. Lakers NBA Finals
1969 L.A. Lakers San Francisco Western Division Semifinals
1971 Baltimore New York Eastern Conference Finals
1977 Portland Philadelphia NBA Finals
1993 Chicago New York Eastern Conference Finals
1994 Houston Phoenix Western Conference Semifinals
1995 Houston Phoenix Western Conference Semifinals
2004 L.A. Lakers San Antonio Western Conference Semifinals
2005 Dallas Houston Western Conference first round
2005 Washington Chicago Eastern Conference first round
2006 Miami Dallas NBA Finals
2007 Utah Houston Western Conference first round
2007 Cleveland Detroit Eastern Conference Finals
2008 San Antonio New Orleans Western Conference Semifinals
2012 Oklahoma City San Antonio Western Conference Finals
2013 Memphis L.A. Clippers Western Conference first round
2016 Portland L.A. Clippers Western Conference first round
2016 Cleveland Golden State NBA Finals
2017 Boston Chicago Eastern Conference first round



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