The Wizards did not have a great time in Canada this week. They went up to Toronto to begin their first round playoff series against the Raptors and returned through customs with an 0-2 deficit.
In order to extend their season another playoff round, the Wizards will have to win four of the next five games. They haven't won four of five since (checks calendar) February. It's been a while since the Wizards reeled off wins like that and this is the playoffs.
And not only is it the playoffs, they are playing the best team in the Eastern Conference and the Raptors are rolling. Toronto is making threes like Drake makes hits. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal has yet to heat up and the rest of the starting lineup outside of John Wall is a mystery.
When put like that, it sounds pretty bleak but there is no reason to take a glass half-empty approach quite yet. Teams that go down 0-3 have historically been dead in the water with no comebacks ever completed, but 0-2 is not an insurmountable deficit. In fact, the Wizards themselves have done it before.
Back in 2005, in their first round series against the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards lost the first two games and then swept the next four. Gilbert Arenas did Gilbert Arenas things and local hero Juan Dixon had the game of his NBA life in Game 4. It is not out of the question for that to happen again.
Before going through some of the success stories, let's first examine the odds the Wizards are up against. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in seven-game series in the NBA Playoffs are a whopping 273-19. That's a win percentage of 93.5.
Recently, however, these upsets have become more common. Since the NBA switched to seven-game series in the first round in 2003, comebacks from down 0-2 have happened 12 times. That's almost once per year. Three teams have done it in the past two years alone.
The Celtics dropped their first two games against the Bulls in the first round last spring, but came back to win. In 2016, the Blazers accomplished the feat in the first round and the Cavaliers did the same in the NBA Finals.
Here are the most recent instances of an 0-2 comeback:
2005: Washington over Chicago, first round
2006: Miami over Dallas, NBA Finals
2007: Utah over Houston, first round
2007: Cleveland over Detroit, conference finals
2008: San Antonio over New Orleans, second round
2012: Oklahoma City over San Antonio, conference finals
2013: Memphis over L.A. Clippers, first round
2016: Portland over L.A. Clippers, first round
2016: Cleveland over Golden State, NBA Finals
2017: Boston over Chicago, first round
Can the Wizards add another to that list? As Beal noted following the Wizards' Game 2 loss, they almost did it last year.
"We were in this situation probably a year from today almost against Boston in the second round," Beal said. "We’ve gotta take it a game at a time. Focus on Game 3 and get that at home."
The Wizards went down 0-2 against the Celtics in the second round and pushed it all the way to Game 7. If they can put themselves in that position again, maybe the result will be different.
The Wizards have to hold serve at home to give themselves a chance. We'll see how they respond in Game 3 on Friday.
(h/t Odds Shark)
MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:
NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!