When was the last time an NBA team won a series when trailing 3-1?

Unforgettable NBA Comebacks: Analyzing Teams That Overcame a 3-1 Series Deficit
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Taking a look back at when the last time a team came back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Playoffs.

The first round of the NBA Playoffs has delivered some awesome moments. Anthony Edwards has officially arrived. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal are booking flights to Cancun (Galveston, TX) to start their off-seasons after a sweep at the hands of the Wolves. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic are playing out of their minds. The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks look like the teams to beat out in the East. The energy has been insane so far.

Some teams have fared better than others. The Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans are already out of the Playoffs. Other than the Clippers and Mavericks series and the Magic and Cavaliers series, every other series is fairly lopsided in the outcome department. Each of the Heat, Lakers, 76ers, and Bucks are looking to win their second game in their respective series to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Being down in a series is never fun. The pressure builds and moments that are usually nothing to write home about become heightened and scrutinized. Knowing that every game from here on out is an elimination game raises the stakes and allows for no mistakes.

There have been 281 playoff series in NBA history that have started 3-1. The teams that went on to win their series after having a 3-1 lead are 268-13. That means that teams who go up 3-1 in their playoff series end up winning the series 95% of the time. It's no wonder teams and players want to avoid going down 1-3 in the series like the plague.

As it currently stands, the Heat, Lakers, Bucks, and 76ers are all down 1-3. It'll be interesting to see if any of these teams can battle back and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. While those three teams look to turn their fortunes around and advance, let's take a step back and revisit the last time an NBA team came back from a 1-3 deficit.

It wasn't too long ago when...

The Denver Nuggets went on to win their Western Conference semifinal matchup against the LA Clippers in the 2020 playoffs. Yes, it was the bubble year so discount it as you see fit, however not only did the Nuggets win the series in seven after being down 1-3, but they had also done it the previous series against the Utah Jazz.

The year was 2020. The NBA playoffs resumed after a COVID-shortened season. All teams competed in the bubble, with no fans in the stands. The Denver Nuggets opened their playoff journey against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. The Nuggets won game one but proceeded to lose the next three games in the series to find themselves down 1-3. After that, it was the Jamal Murray show as he scored 42 points, 50 points, and 17 points respectively in Games 5, 6, and 7.

Murray put the team on his back offensively and led the Nuggets into the Western Conference Semifinals against the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George-led Clippers. The Nuggets lost game one and won game two. The series was tied 1-1 when the Clippers stole games three and four to go up 3-1 in the series. Jamal Murray shouldered the offensive load yet again, scoring 26 points, 21 points, and 40 points in games five, six, and seven respectively. This meant they were moving on to the Western Conference Finals in a matchup against the Lakers.

Believe it or not, the Nuggets actually started the series with the Lakers 1-3 again. However, this time the Nuggets failed to fight back and were bounced in five, losing to the Lakers 1-4.

Well, there you have it, folks. Storytime is over for now, but it might not be too long before we see another team come back after being down 1-3 to begin the series. We have an ample amount of teams who have the talent to pull off the feat this postseason. Let's continue to root for good basketball and tough series throughout the playoffs and may the best team win!

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