Celtics vs. Heat: How many times has there been a comeback from 0-3 in NBA history?
Derrick White’s buzzer-beating tip-in allowed the Celtics to win in Miami to take the series against the Heat to a Game 7 decider.
The Boston Celtics NBA Finals miracle is still alive. Jayson Tatum was the star of the show with 31 points as the Cs made it three wins in a row against Miami Heat to level the series at 3-3, but it was Derrick White who took all the glory with a dramatic buzzer-beating tip-in to force a seventh game in at TD Garden in Boston on Monday night.
How many of us expected us to get it this far? Given that the Celtics had gotten the better of the Heat in four of the five previous meetings at Kasyea Center, maybe it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise to see them again come out on top in Saturday’s Game 6, just four days after they had also won Game 4 in Miami.
The momentum is now very much in their favour going into Monday’s decider but what does history tell us about their chances of pulling off an incredible comeback?
3-0 comebacks in NBA history
Prior to the Celtics, only three NBA teams had managed to level a series after being down 0-3, but unfortunately, they all lost in game 7. Interestingly, all three teams were the visiting team in game 7, which will not be the case for Boston. Notably, no team has ever made a successful comeback from a 0-3 series deficit in the NBA.
The three teams in NBA history that have reached a seventh game after being down three games are the 1951 New York Knicks, who lost to the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), the 1994 Denver Nuggets, who lost to the Utah Jazz, and the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers who lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Other sports successful 3-0 comebacks
No other American professional sport except the NHL where we can find cases of teams overcoming this remarkable feat.
Throughout the rich history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, only a select few have managed to achieve this remarkable feat. With a success rate of less than 2%, the magnitude of these comebacks cannot be overstated, especially considering the high-stakes nature of the Stanley Cup Final.
Out of numerous teams behind 3-0, only four have managed to come back and win, and it’s worth noting that two teams have accomplished this feat in the Stanley Cup Final, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings.
The other two NHL teams who braved their playoff victories after being down were the 1974 New York Islanders and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers.