San Antonio Spurs News

NBA teams down 0-3 in the playoffs are bound to fail

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 19: Assistant Coach Ettore Messina and LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Golden State Warriorsin the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 19: Assistant Coach Ettore Messina and LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Golden State Warriorsin the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The San Antonio Spurs do not have history on their side when down 0-3 in an NBA playoff series.

Down 3-0, the San Antonio Spurs will face elimination in the face on Sunday, with Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. A loss would put the Silver and Black out of the postseason in their quickest fashion since the 1991-92 season, when first-round matchups were Best-of-Five, and they fell to a Phoenix Suns team that featured Jeff Hornacek, Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle.

The Spurs history in elimination games was already broken down, but what about NBA teams down 3-0? Well, it does not bode well for their hopes at a comeback, winning four consecutive games against the defending champions.

As ESPN’s Michael C. Wright noted after Game 3, NBA teams that trail 3-0 in a series, in the Best-of-Seven format, are 0-127. No one has ever come back to win, and that does not count the 3-1 series deficits the Warriors fought against in the 2016 Western Conference Finals and what the Cleveland Cavaliers did in the latter year’s NBA Finals.

The fans are already headed for the exits with 6:41 left t play and the Spurs trailing by 17. Teams that fall behind 3-0 in a best-of-7 series are 0-127 in the playoffs. And that 0-127 is series record, per @ESPNStatsInfo. So… https://t.co/nkRg6mgBzJ pic.twitter.com/B1iHf3SJLc

— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) April 20, 2018

So … history is not on San Antonio’s side. Them, or anyone else in the 2018 playoffs as the Portland Trail Blazers face an identical situation against the New Orleans Pelicans.

When Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all battled injuries in the final regular-season matchup, was the only time San Antonio found success against Golden State, and that game was still closer than expected. Unless all three simultaneously battle an ailment during Sunday’s Game 4, it will be an uphill battle.

Teams in other major sports have pulled off the 0-3 comeback before. The NHL had the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings climb out of this deficit to win their respective series. MLB fans will not forget the Boston Red Sox overcoming the New York Yankees in seven games, after a 0-3 hole, to reach the World Series and win it all.

Next: Top 25 players in Spurs history

Is it impossible? Maybe not, but if NBA history tells fans anything, it’s the best team that moves on.

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