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NBA Teams Down 2-0 Have Brutal History

In the NBA, establishing a strong presence early in a playoff series is vital to any team’s success. That’s because according to recent history, it’s incredibly hard to battle back when you’re in a hole.

NBA teams are 18-262 all-time after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. Only four of 55 squads have prevailed since 2009 when in that spot – the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Western Conference finals, the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2016 playoffs and of course the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers find themselves down 2-0 in the 2017 postseason ahead of Saturday’s slate of action.

While back-to-back opening losses look daunting, three setbacks in a row is downright frightening. No team in the Association has ever won a series when trailing three games to none.

Here’s a look at the other NBA clubs that came back from best-of-seven deficits after going down 2-0 in the series:

NBA teams that have won the series after trailing 2-0
YearSeries winnerSeries loserRound
1969BostonL.A. LakersNBA Finals
1969L.A. LakersSan FranciscoWestern Division Semifinals
1971BaltimoreNew YorkEastern Conference Finals
1977PortlandPhiladelphiaNBA Finals
1993ChicagoNew YorkEastern Conference Finals
1994HoustonPhoenixWestern Conference Semifinals
1995HoustonPhoenixWestern Conference Semifinals
2004L.A. LakersSan AntonioWestern Conference Semifinals
2005DallasHoustonWestern Conference first round
2005WashingtonChicagoEastern Conference first round
2006MiamiDallasNBA Finals
2007UtahHoustonWestern Conference first round
2007ClevelandDetroitEastern Conference Finals
2008San AntonioNew OrleansWestern Conference Semifinals
2012Oklahoma CitySan AntonioWestern Conference Finals
2013MemphisL.A. ClippersWestern Conference first round
2016PortlandL.A. ClippersWestern Conference first round
2016ClevelandGolden StateNBA Finals