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NBA Teams Down 2-0 in Seven-Game Playoff Series Have a Brutal History

LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react on the bench in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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.

The Cavaliers are +195 underdogs to come back and win the series against the Celtics.

NBA teams that go up 2-0 in a best-of-seven round are 281-19 in the series all-time. Only five squads have prevailed since 2012 when down 2-0 – the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Western Conference final, the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals and the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.

Since the second round of the 2018 postseason, the New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and now the Cavaliers have found themselves in that spot. After suffering back-to-back setbacks in the Eastern Conference final in Boston, the Cavs go back to Cleveland searching for answers to climb out of their early hole.

Think the Cavs can come back? Bet on NBA Series Prices here

According to oddsmakers, Cavs are in a tough spot

While back-to-back opening losses is 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.

Do you think the Cavs can pull off a comeback? Cleveland is +195 to win the series at BetOnline, according to our series price page. When it comes to championship futures, Cleveland has the worst odds to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy out of the four teams remaining at +1100 odds.

So, is there value in betting the Cavaliers at +195 to get back to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year? With the series shifting back to Northeast Ohio, the Cavs have their backs against the wall, but they have played significantly better at Quicken Loans Arena (29-12 SU in the regular season, 5-2 in the playoffs) than on the road. Considering they have the best player in the world who’s been to the Finals in seven straight years, if anyone can accomplish the rare feat, it’s LeBron James.

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

NBA teams that have won the series after trailing 2-0
YearSeries winnerSeries loserRound
1969BostonL.A. LakersNBA Finals
1969L.A. LakersSan FranciscoWestern Division semifinal
1971BaltimoreNew YorkEastern Conference final
1977PortlandPhiladelphiaNBA Finals
1993ChicagoNew YorkEastern Conference final
1994HoustonPhoenixWestern Conference semifinal
1995HoustonPhoenixWestern Conference semifinal
2004L.A. LakersSan AntonioWestern Conference semifinal
2005DallasHoustonWestern Conference first round
2005WashingtonChicagoEastern Conference first round
2006MiamiDallasNBA Finals
2007UtahHoustonWestern Conference first round
2007ClevelandDetroitEastern Conference final
2008San AntonioNew OrleansWestern Conference semifinal
2012Oklahoma CitySan AntonioWestern Conference final
2013MemphisL.A. ClippersWestern Conference first round
2016PortlandL.A. ClippersWestern Conference first round
2016ClevelandGolden StateNBA Finals
2017BostonChicagoEastern Conference first round