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The Boston Celtics Do Not Fit The Profile Of The Other 145 NBA Playoff Teams To Start 0-3

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

OK Boston fans. Tonight's the night. You have a chance to go from relieved you didn't get swept to actually having a realistic chance at the biggest series comeback in NBA history. That's actually pretty cool because if they pull it off no one will remember games 1-3 when they showed a similar level of mental composure as a cat during vacuum time. We all know that no team has come back from 0-3, but let's take a look at what the road the Celtics must take looks like based on every NBA team that started 0-3 in a best of seven.


I found 146 teams in NBA history started a best of seven series down 0-3. Sporting News says there was 149, so it's possible I missed a few old timers. Whatever. 56 of these 146 won Game 4 including the 2023 Timberwolves in Round 1 and the Celtics the other night. So step 1 is in the books. No need to thank me for mushing the Heat by blogging before the Game 4 what they should do to kill nine days before the Finals. 

Step 2: Force Game 6

In all of NBA history, only 12 teams who started 0-3 forced a Game 6. The Toronto Raptors did so just last year vs the 76ers while the Warriors were done playing with their food and ended both the Nuggets and Mavericks in five. But let's take a look at all such teams who forced a Game 6 with Game 5 score results:

The astute observer will notice that only the 2010 Orlando Magic were a higher seed that found themselves in a 0-3 hole before forcing a Game 6. And you don't have to be a world renowned educated person to remember that the Celtics are the #2 seed vs the #7 Heat. So if there's a team that could pull this off…it's the Celtics. 

Step 3: Force Game 7

Just three teams listed above ever made it this far along the journey: the 1951 Knicks, the 1994 Nuggets, and the 2003 Trail (almost) Blazers. So close they could taste it, but of course none of them ever pulled it off. But these weren't exactly intimidating teams. Leading scorers for the Blazers and Nuggets? Bonzi Wells and Mahmoud Adbul-Rauf. And Max Zaslofky for the '51 Knicks. What a crew. Not exactly Jayson Tatum or even Jaylen Brown. 

Step 4: Win Game 7

Kevin Garnett said it best about this team. Anything is possible. They could come out and totally shit the bed tonight or do what they did in Game 4. But just because none of the other 145 teams to ever start a seven game series 0-3 ever won it doesn't mean the Celtics aren't actually back in this fight. There's a reason the series moneyline is around the mid +200s. Everything is different here. #2 seeds aren't supposed to be this soft before remembering they are good. Jayson Tatum isn't supposed to get Monstar'd in the 4th quarter every game they lose. 

It's just a bizarre situation. And as much as I have a love/hate relationship with the NBA, I'm stoked as a neutral observer just to see this all unfold. Either Celtics fans have their hopes and dreams crushed or they get to go on the most obnoxious chest pumping session known to man. Either way I'm down! Kudos to Adam Silver and his writing team. Let's see how this goes. Will the C's make it to step 3? I'm ready to find out. 

Tip-off the damn ball!

- Jeffro