The 2023 NBA playoffs are near their conclusion with the Finals on the horizon. Has a team ever been able to overcome a 0-3 deficit?
The NBA playoffs have been a part of the season since 1946, meaning that fans over the years have witnessed history. Whether it was the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics winning 17 NBA titles, or the Chicago Bulls winning six titles in the span of eight years, fans were given countless memories.
But what about a team overcoming an 0-3 series deficit?
In 2023, the Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, were pushed to the brink of elimination by the Denver Nuggets, who have never made it to the NBA Finals before. Down 0-3, their playoff lives are on the line.
Then there are the Celtics, who are facing a similar 0-3 hole in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat.
So, has a team ever successfully overcome an 0-3 deficit in an NBA playoff series to win it?
Has a team ever overcome an 0-3 deficit in NBA playoffs?
As of this writing, no team has ever been able to overcome this kind of deficit in a series. Specifically, teams have an 0-149 overall record when down 0-3 in a playoff series, per SportsCenter.
That’s not to say that some teams didn’t attempt it. There are three teams that were able to tie it up after trailing 0-3, but each of them lost in Game 7 in their respective series to get eliminated.
1951: New York Knicks vs. Rochester Royals (NBA Finals)
1994: Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz (Western Conference Semifinals)
2003: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Western Conference First Round)
It’s a tough situation for any NBA team to get stuck in during the playoffs, as history shows that it’s impossible to overcome. That’s not to say that it will never be done. But, as of now, being down 0-3 is essentially the death nail for an NBA team.
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