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What happens when teams take 3-0 lead in NBA playoff series?

NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller explains why its difficult to compare the Golden State Warriors to title winners in the past from the 70s, 80s or 90s.

You probably already know no team has ever overcome a 3-0 lead in an NBA playoff series.

But will the Warriors – up 3-0 on the Cavaliers – wrap up the NBA Finals in Game 4 tonight?

History is on their side. Most teams up 3-0 have swept.

Here’s how teams have fared in best-of-seven series when up 3-0:


Sweeps when up 3-0 have been even more likely in the Finals, though that’s a far smaller sample:


All five teams to go up 3-0 this year, including the Warriors three times, swept. Golden State was also the last team up 3-0 to drop a game, losing Game 4 to the Rockets in the 2015 conference finals then winning in six.

The Warriors could make short-term financial gains by losing tonight, but they could etch their names in history as the first undefeated playoff team. There’s more incentive – especially felt by the players involved – to win.

To me, it’s simple: Cleveland hasn’t figured out how to beat Golden State yet. Why is that going to suddenly change tonight?