Skip to main content

No NBA Team Has Ever Comeback From A 3-0 Deficit And Only Three Teams Have Forced A Game 7 In Playoff History

No NBA Team Has Ever Comeback From A 3-0 Deficit And Only Three Teams Have Forced A Game 7 In Playoff History

One of the worst fates in sports is going down 3-0 in a series. It's almost a guaranteed series loss if your team falls into the dreaded 3-0 hole.

In the history of all the major sports in North America, only five teams have ever successfully come back and won a series after trailing 3-0. Four of the teams to achieve this were teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). The other team to achieve this was the 2004 Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB).

No NBA team has ever achieved this remarkable 3-0 come-back series win. Only three teams in league history have ever come back after trailing 3-0 to force a Game 7.


1951 NBA Finals: New York Knicks vs. Rochester Royals

The Rochester Royals would eventually become the Sacramento Kings in 1985, but their time in Rochester would prove to be their best. The only championship in franchise history occurred during the 1950-51 NBA season.

This championship was almost squandered after the Royals went up 3-0 in the series against the New York Knicks, just to lose the next three games. The 1951 NBA Finals became the first series in league history to reach a seventh game.

The Sacramento Kings have been known to lose big games after looking like the favorites, especially in the early 2000s. In 1951, the Royals would not become victims of this scenario as they won Game 7 79-75.

The Royals were led by their best player, Arnie Risen, who scored a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. The Royals were champions, surviving the Knicks' ferocious 3-0 comeback attempt.


1994 NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz

The 1951 NBA Finals saw the first team after trailing 3-0 in a series come back to force a Game 7. This wouldn't occur again until the 1993-94 NBA season, during the semifinals round.

The teams involved were the Denver Nuggets, who became the first eighth seed to defeat a number one seed in a series, coming back from being down 2-0 in the first round best of five series. The Nuggets defeated the Seattle SuperSonics.

In the semifinals round, the Nuggets took on the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz. They quickly fell into a 3-0 hole, looking like their first-round upset series victory was just a fluke.

Then, the Nuggets flipped a switch and won the next three games, forcing a Game 7. The Jazz regrouped themselves and won Game 7 by a score of 91-81, behind Karl Malone's 31 points and 14 rebounds.


2003 NBA Western Conference First Round: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks

The third and final NBA team to manage to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0 in the series was the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers. The third-seeded Dallas Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitzki, pounced all over the Trail Blazers.

Nowitzki showed the world what he'd eventually become in the league when he scored 46 in Game 1. Nowitzki followed his Game 1 performance by scoring 25 in Game 2 and 42 in Game 3, to help the Mavericks build a 3-0 series lead.

The Trail Blazers got a boost from Zach Randolph, who scored 25 points while grabbing 15 rebounds, to stop a Mavericks sweep in Game 4. This inspiring play from the Trail Blazers continued as they defeated the Mavericks in the next two games.

This set up a Game 7 in Dallas. The fans in Dallas were nervous, since their star player, Dirk Nowitzki, only managed to score 4 points on 2-11 shooting in Game 6. Nowitzki bounced back in Game 7, scoring 31 points on 12-21 shooting.

The Mavericks also got a big boost off the bench from veteran Nick Van Exel, who scored 26. The Trail Blazers, like the New York Knicks, and the Denver Nuggets before them, fell in Game 7 after climbing out of a 3-0 hole.

2003 was the last time a team in the NBA fell 3-0 just to climb out of the hole and force a Game 7. Will this year's NBA playoffs give us another? Or will we be witnesses of the first NBA team to successfully come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series?

Next 

The First NBA (BAA) Playoffs In League History: Philadelphia Warriors Won The First NBA Championship

The Longest Playoff Games In NBA History: 1953 Boston Celtics vs. Syracuse Nationals And 2019 Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets

Allen Iverson’s Career-High Against Every NBA Team: The Answer Has An Answer Against Every Team's Defense

All-Time Lakers Team vs. All-Time Clippers Team: Only One Team Can Run LA

The Minnesota Timberwolves' Current Players’ Status For The 2022-23 Season: D'Angelo Russell Could Be Traded This Summer, Anthony Edwards Becomes The Leader