Every time a team has blown a 3-1 lead in the NBA Playoffs

No team has ever blown a 3-0 lead in the NBA playoffs, but a few have bottled it when leading by 3 games to 1.

With the 2022 Conference Finals underway, a bit of drama would not go amiss...
Only once has a team lost in the Finals after leading 3-1, while it has happened four times in Conference/Division Finals.
Bottling a convincing series lead in the playoffs quite rightly brings a lot of criticism and Twitter memes.

Some franchises and coaches appear to be cursed, with the same team blowing away a 3-1 lead multiple times in their history. Meanwhile, a certain coach has blown such a lead on three occasions. Sorry Doc Rivers we are going to call you out here.

On the flip side, coming back from 3-1 down would be one hell of a feeling, with LeBron James saying that he felt like the greatest player of all time after a historic turnaround in 2016.

Planet Sport looks back at every time it has happened in the NBA post-season.

1968 Eastern Division Finals

The Boston Celtics went on to win the championship after coming from 3-1 down against Wilt Chamberlain's Philadelphia 76ers.
They won the Finals after beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2, with seven Hall of Famers featuring in that series.

1970 Western Division Semifinals

The Lakers reached the Finals in 1970 after coming from 3-1 down against the Phoenix Suns in the West semis.
Unlike the Celtics two years prior, they could not win it all, losing to the New York Knicks.

1979 Eastern Conference Finals

There was no such bottlejob for another nine years when the San Antonio Spurs failed to see out the Washington Bullets.
The Iceman George Gervin topped the scoring charts as he dragged the Spurs into a 3-1 lead after game 4, he nailed 42 points in that clash. Gervin continued to dominate in both game 5 (28) and 7 (42) but it wasn't enough to prevent the Bullets claiming three very close wins in a row.

1981 Eastern Conference Finals

For the second time already we have a series involving the 76ers and Celtics, and for the second time in the playoffs, Philadelphia have squandered a 3-1 lead.
Once again winning the title, Boston beat the Houston Rockets in six games in the NBA Finals.

1995 Western Conference Semifinals

After a 14-year absence, the 3-1 curse returned.
The Suns blew their second 3-1 lead in franchise history when they lost to the Rockets, who went on to win the title with Michael Jordan temporarily retired from the NBA.

1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals

The Knicks chucked away a win against the Miami Heat after numerous key players were suspended following a fight in Game 5.
Miami were beaten by the Chicago Bulls in the East Finals.

2003 Eastern Conference First Round

The maiden year the first round were best-of-seven series', we got ourselves a nice 3-1 bottlejob to mark the occasion.

Doc River's Orlando Magic were the unfortunate team here, as the Detroit Pistons picked up three double-digit wins on the bounce after surprisingly going 3-1 down in the 1-seed vs 8-seed series.

2006 Western Conference First Round

The Suns are back, but this time, they are the team completing a comeback.
This was the first time in league history where two franchises overcame a 3-1 series deficit to win against one another with Phoenix overcoming the Lakers despite Kobe Bryant's 50-point performance in Game 6.

2015 Western Conference Semifinals

In 2015, Doc Rivers became the first coach to blow multiple 3-1 leads after also leading Orlando in 2003.
His Los Angeles Clippers were beaten by the Rockets - who lost to the Golden State Warriors in the next round.

2016 Western Conference Finals

For the first time, there were 3-1 leads blown two seasons in a row.
The 73-9 Warriors team with the first unanimous MVP, Steph Curry, had to complete a dramatic comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following this season, Kevin Durant famously joined the Warriors in free agency after being a part of the losing Thunder side.

2016 NBA Finals

The only time a 3-1 lead has been blown in the Finals, the aforementioned Warriors team went from coming back to bottling it.
Their 73-9 record is the best in regular season history yet they could not win it all despite being heavy favourites against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As a result, the Warriors became the first team to overcome and blow a 3-1 deficit in the same post-season campaign.

2020 Western Conference First Round

The Utah Jazz had a commanding lead over the Denver Nuggets but could not close them out in the Orlando Bubble.
What a series this was. It will always be remembered as being Jamal Murray v Donovan Mitchell as both guards went crazy from the field.
After this epic comeback, the Nuggets were not finished...

2020 Western Conference Semifinals

Denver became the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in consecutive rounds.
For the second time in five years, the Clippers blew this lead, meaning that Rivers became the only coach to oversee three different 3-1 leads chucked away.

Read more: Three NBA owners feature in top ten richest sports tycoons in the world

More Articles