NBA Teams That Came Back From 3-1 Series Deficit

Apr 23, 2019, 3:58 PM
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After their 107-91 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their best-of-seven series, the Utah Jazz are one step closer to accomplishing something that no other team in NBA history has done before.

That’s coming back from a 0-3 deficit to win the series. It’s difficult enough to win four straight in a series but to do so after losing three straight has been impossible in the NBA.

Four National Hockey League teams have completed the comeback and one Major League Baseball team has done it.

In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final after trailing the series 3-0. The New York Islander did the same in the first round in 1975 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It didn’t happen again until 2004 when the Boston Red Sox took down the New York Yankees in the ALCS and went on to win their first World Series since 1918.

Back in 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated the Boston Bruins in the second round and the last team to do so was in 2014 with the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks in the first round. The Kings won the Stanley Cup that year.

NBA Teams Down 3-0, Force Game 7

Since the 3-0 comeback has never been completed in the NBA, there have been rare occasion where the team trailing the series comes back to force a Game 7 but can’t win that last game. It has happened just three times with the Jazz being involved in one of those series’.

The first time was in 1951 when the Rochester Royals had to hold off the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. The Royals dominated the first three games of the series, before the Knicks won by a combined 15 points in three games, one on the road to force Game 7 in Rochester. The Royals won the game and championship by four points.

The second time was in 1994 with the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets, who were the No. 8-seed and defeated the Seattle Supersonics. It was in the second round with Utah taking a 3-0 lead. The Nuggets won Game 4 at home by one point, Game 5 in Utah by 8 in double overtime and by three in Game 6 at home. The Jazz stopped the Nuggets from completing the 3-0 comeback with a 10-point win at home in Game 7.

The last time was in 2003 when the No. 3-seed Dallas Mavericks took a 3-0 lead against No. 6-seed Portland Trail Blazers. Game 4 flipped the switch for Portland as they won in Dallas in Game 5 and Portland in Game 6. But the Mavericks won by 12 points at home in Game 7.

NBA Teams Down 3-1 To Win Series

Only 11 teams have trailed a series 3-1 and have come back to win the series and advance.

The last time it happened was in 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first ever NBA Championship, winning three straight games, including Game 7 in Oakland. Two of their last three wins were on the road. Like the Jazz’s situation right now.

The series before that in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors did what the Cavaliers did to the Oklahoma City Thunder. They trailed 3-1 but came back to win the series and face the Cavs in the Finals.

The Rockets have been down 3-1 twice in their franchise history and have made the comeback. The first time was against the Phoenix Suns in the second round in 1995. They went on the win the NBA title. The last time was in 2015 against the Los Angeles Clippers when they were a No. 2-seed.

Out of the 11 times that an NBA team has trailed 3-1 to win the series, only two of them had to win two of their last three games on the road.

In the world of sports, the feat has been accomplished 13 times in Major League Baseball and 28 times in hockey.

The Jazz will look to pick up a big road win on Wednesday night when they face the Rockets in Game 5 at 6 p.m. on TNT.

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NBA Teams That Came Back From 3-1 Series Deficit