On the brink of elimination, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving made history by becoming the first teammates to score 40-plus points each in the same NBA Finals game (per Elias Sports Bureau). The remarkable performances by Cleveland’s stars sends the series back to Ohio for Game 6.
With all the momentum seemingly favoring the Cavs it would be understandable if Golden State fans felt nervous. However, in the history of the NBA playoffs, only ten teams have overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
It has never happened in the NBA Finals.
In fact, teams that have taken a 3-1 series lead in the Finals have gone 32-0.
For the teams that take a commanding 3-1 lead losing Game 5 isn’t uncommon. The series leading team is now just 17-16 in their first attempt to close out the opponent.
However, only two teams have forced a Game 7 in the Finals after trailing 3-1. You have to go back to the 1966 Finals when the Lakers took the Celtics to seven before eventually losing the championship.
Cleveland will play at home but sending the series back to Cali for a winner-take-all Game 7 will be a challenge. Golden State gets Draymond Green back from suspension and isn’t likely to shoot 3 of 21 from behind the arc in the second half again.
Here are the 32 teams that took a 3-1 lead in the Finals and how the series ended.
|Year||Up 3-1||Down 3-1||Result|
|2014||San Antonio||Miami||San Antonio in 5|
|2012||Miami||Oklahoma City||Miami in 5|
|2009||Los Angeles||Orlando||Los Angeles in 5|
|2008||Boston||Los Angeles||Boston in 6|
|2004||Detroit||Los Angeles||Detroit in 5|
|2001||Los Angeles||Philadelphia||Los Angeles in 5|
|2000||Los Angeles||Indiana||Los Angeles in 6|
|1999||San Antonio||New York||San Antonio in 5|
|1998||Chicago||Utah||Chicago in 6|
|1996||Chicago||Seattle||Chicago in 6|
|1993||Chicago||Phoenix||Chicago in 6|
|1991||Chicago||Los Angeles||Chicago in 5|
|1990||Detroit||Portland||Detroit in 5|
|1987||Los Angeles||Boston||Los Angeles in 6|
|1986||Boston||Houston||Boston in 6|
|1982||Los Angeles||Philadelphia||Los Angeles in 6|
|1979||Seattle||Washington||Seattle in 5|
|1973||New York||Los Angeles||New York in 5|
|1972||Los Angeles||New York||Los Angeles in 5|
|1967||Philadelphia||San Francisco||Philadelphia in 6|
|1966||Boston||Los Angeles||Boston in 7|
|1965||Boston||Los Angeles||Boston in 5|
|1964||Boston||San Francisco||Boston in 5|
|1963||Boston||Los Angeles||Boston in 6|
|1961||Boston||St. Louis||Boston in 5|
|1956||Philadelphia||Fort Wayne||Philadelphia in 5|
|1953||Minneapolis||New York||Minneapolis in 5|
|1951||Rochester||New York||Rochester in 7|
|1950||Minneapolis||Syracuse||Minneapolis in 6|
|1949||Minneapolis||Washington||Minneapolis in 6|
|1948||Baltimore||Philadelphia||Baltimore in 6|
|1947||Philadelphia||Chicago||Philadelphia in 5|