Cavaliers attempting to become third underdog to overcome 3-2 deficit in NBA Finals


Teams leading a playoff series 3-2 have won 85% of the time.

When the leading team entered the series with home-court advantage – for these purposes, “the favorite” – it’s 92%. That’s probably a reasonable baseline for the Warriors’ odds this year.

Teams in the Cavaliers’ situation – underdogs trailing 3-2 – are just 14-163. Here are the 14 teams that have overcome such a difficult predicament:

  • 2014: Brooklyn Nets over Toronto Raptors in Eastern Conference first round
  • 2009: Orlando Magic over Boston Celtics in Eastern Conference semifinals
  • 2008: San Antonio Spurs over New Orleans Hornets in Western Conference semifinals
  • 2007: Utah Jazz over Houston Rockets in Western Conference first round
  • 2005: Detroit Pistons over Miami Heat in Eastern Conference finals
  • 2002: Los Angeles Lakers over Sacramento Kings in Western Conference finals
  • 2000: New York Knicks over Miami Heat in Eastern Conference semifinals
  • 1995: Houston Rockets over Phoenix Suns in Western Conference semifinals
  • 1978: Washington Bullets over Seattle SuperSonics in NBA Finals
  • 1976: Phoenix Suns over Golden State Warriors in Western Conference finals
  • 1971: Baltimore Bullets over New York Knicks in Eastern Conference finals
  • 1969: Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers in NBA Finals
  • 1968: Boston Celtics over Philadelphia 76ers in Eastern Division finals
  • 1948: Philadelphia Warriors over St. Louis Bombers in BAA semifinals

For what it’s worth, all 14 of those series featured the situation we have now – Game 6 in one location, Game 7 in another.