The odds favor the Dallas Mavericks — up 3-2 they need to win just one of the final two games in Miami to win the first title in the franchise’s history. Plus, the way they have been executing at the end of games, they must be considered the favorites.
But history says Miami has a good shot at winning.
Seven times a team has been down 3-2 heading home for the final two games — three times they came back to win. (Stat via Chris Tomasson)
The most recent was the Lakers last season, who trailed the Celtics 3-2 coming back to Staples Center (and still needed a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to pull it off over a Kendrick Perkins-less Celtics). Although, those Lakers had already shown a championship pedigree and fire we have yet to see out of these Heat.
The other teams to do it were the 1988 Lakers coming back on the Detroit Pistons and the 1994 Houston Rockets coming back on Pat Riley’s New York Knicks.
Still, more times than not the team up 3-2 wins. Those teams have been the 1985 Lakers (Magic Johnson’s baby skyhook in the lane to beat the Celtics in the Garden); the 1993 Bulls (Charles Barkley’s Suns couldn’t win two at home over Jordan’s Bulls); the 1998 Bulls (Jordan’s final year, he wasn’t about to lose); and the 2006 Miami Heat (who closed out Dallas in these same circumstances).
The shoe is on the other foot now. We’ll see if Dallas can return the favor to Miami and close out on the road.