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:
|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|
|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|
|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|