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NBA teams facing 3-0 series deficit in playoffs: How many teams have come back to force a Game 6, Game 7? | Sporting News

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In the NBA Playoffs, taking a 3-0 series lead in a best-of-seven series guarantees a victory. In the league’s extensive history, no team has emerged from a 3-0 series deficit to win the series.

For some perspective, NBA teams have a record of 154-0 when getting out to a 3-0 series lead in a best-of-seven series. Again, 154 series wins. Zero losses.

Of the 154 teams that have fallen into a 3-0 series hole, 15 have won two games to force a Game 6, and four teams have forced Game 7s by winning three consecutive games. A fourth straight win, however, has proven to be elusive. 

In 2023, the 2-seed Celtics forced a Game 7 after losing the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals to the 8-seed Heat. Despite Boston’s best efforts, history proved to be on Miami’s side, as it won Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals.

In 2024, the Nuggets, Thunder, and Timberwolves each took care of business after taking a 3-0 series leads in the opening round. Here’s how things have gone for teams that attempted to crawl out of the historically insurmountable series deficit.

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Teams to force Game 7 after facing a 3-0 deficit in NBA Playoffs

Four teams have forced Game 7 after facing a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Playoffs. Before Boston in 2023, the most recent instance came 20 years prior, when Portland forced Game 7 after dropping three games to Dallas in the first round.

Year Round Series result
2023 Eastern Conference Finals Heat defeat Celtics, 4-3
2003 Western Conference First Round Mavericks defeat Trail Blazers, 4-3
1994 Western Conference Semifinals Jazz defeat Nuggets, 4-3
1951 NBA Finals Royals defeat Knicks, 4-3

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Teams to force Game 6 after facing a 3-0 deficit in NBA Playoffs

Eleven teams have been eliminated in Game 6 after facing a 3-0 series deficit in the NBA Playoffs. The most recent example came in 2022 when the Raptors were eliminated in six games after falling into a 3-0 hole against the 76ers.

Year Round Series result
2022 Eastern Conference First Round 76ers defeat Raptors 4-2
2015 Eastern Conference First Round Bulls defeat Bucks, 4-2
2013 Western Conference First Round Thunder defeat Rockets, 4-2
2013 Eastern Conference First Round Knicks defeat Celtics, 4-2
2010 Eastern Conference Finals Celtics defeat Magic, 4-2
2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals Pistons defeat Bulls, 4-2
2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals Pacers defeat 76ers, 4-2
1996 NBA Finals Bulls defeat SuperSonics, 4-2
1962 Western Division Finals Lakers defeat Pistons, 4-2
1949 NBA Finals Lakers defeat Capitols, 4-2
1947 Semifinals Stags defeat Capitols, 4-2
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