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How many teams have come back from a 2-1 deficit in the NBA Finals?

Here’s a look back at teams which went on to win the Finals despite going down 2-1.

2023 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets handled business in Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals on Wednesday, extinguishing the Miami Heat on the road. Now down 2-1, the Heat have given homecourt advantage back to the Nuggets and while their title hopes are still alive, the margin for error just got tighter.

In the history of the NBA Finals, only 13 teams have successfully overcome a 2-1 deficit to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at the end of the series. There have been 62 instances of a 2-1 lead in the championship round, so that equates to just a 21% success rate for the team that is trailing. That’s not a good sign for the Eastern Conference champs, but it’s not a totally impossible task.

In fact, six of those 13 comebacks have occurred in the last 12 years. Those examples include the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, the 2013 Heat, the 2015 Golden State Warriors, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks, and last year’s Warriors. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and company need a winning effort in Game 4 on Friday in order to avoid the even more daunting 3-1 deficit.