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

Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, right, loses the ball as he is guarded by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and center Tristan Thompson during the second half of Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


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.