Celtics vs Heat ECF Redux Discussion Thread

Jimbodandy

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Miami's 3s can be viewed at the link below. They definitely missed some looks they were making, but the Celtics had much, much better contests in general, even when it looked like guys were out of the play. That also led to the multiple blocks they had on 3s.

It's a make or miss league, but that extra 5% effort can swing a lot of makes to misses, at the margin. These were mostly not clean spot-up looks off penetration for Miami. They were mostly off perimeter action, or self-created.

https://www.nba.com/stats/events?CFID=&CFPARAMS=&ContextMeasure=FG3A&EndPeriod=0&EndRange=28800&GameID=0042200304&PlayerID=0&RangeType=0&Season=2022-23&SeasonType=Playoffs&StartPeriod=0&StartRange=0&TeamID=1610612748&flag=3&sct=plot&section=game
There were a number of posts here in the regular season about why the Celtics were shooting lights out from three. Since we were getting a goofy high percentage of wide open and catch and shoot 3s (and in many cases, both at once), their "lights out" shooting wasn't all that weird. Not all threes are the same.

Caring enough to make Miami work for everything really does help. That's not to say that variance doesn't exist. Houston famously bricked open shots that they would normally bury and lost a few years back. But making it super easy on Miami is a recipe for an early vacation. Hope that they don't do that,
 

Auger34

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Who is KOC? And what did KOC do?
Kevin O’ Connor. He’s The Ringer’s main NBA writer and is from Boston. He has a weekly podcast and often gets on Bill Simmons podcast.

He said that a source told him that the team hated each other and was tired of faking that they liked each other
 

Toe Nash

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Oh I think what to expect tonight is very straightforward: 1 2 3 Cancun.

They quit. They should be expected to quit and be known as quitters until they prove otherwise.
Grow up.

Yeah, most teams who go down 3-0 are much worse than the team they're playing, so of course they tend to only win a game or get swept. I don't believe that is the case with this matchup, so they definitely have a shot particularly if shooting luck swings back or is close to even. But, gambler's fallacy; they're not owed that luck back and it's hard to win 3 in a row when you're fairly evenly matched.

You'd like to think home court in 2 of the 3 games would give a bigger edge but that has not really been the case with this team. I just hope they keep it competitive and anything's possible.
 

joe dokes

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Kevin O’ Connor. He’s The Ringer’s main NBA writer and is from Boston. He has a weekly podcast and often gets on Bill Simmons podcast.

He said that a source told him that the team hated each other and was tired of faking that they liked each other
Thanks. Probably true of *every* team to some extent.
 

the moops

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Was just about to post that. Weird time to post that complaint since Jaylen was really good on defense today.

today was actually like a bizarro Jaylen. Couldn’t shoot, didn’t score much, but did a very good job playmaking and on defense.
I only saw bits of the game. Just seemed every time he was messing up a switch, losing a guy at the three point line, or letting someone waltz to the rim in transition.
 

Ed Hillel

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It tells me that if the Celts win game 5, game 6 is do or die for the Heat.
The Celtics at that point would be 12-12 at home the last two seasons and 1-2 in this series. The pressure would also probably shift back to even at that point. The Celtics coming back to even it up and then losing Game 7 would be the most Celtics thing ever, actually.

Not saying the Celtics wouldn’t be justifiable 10 point favorites at that point or something, but I would never ever assume anything with this squad. They’re pure chaos.
 

8slim

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Obviously, the reason why no team has even come back from 0-3 is because the team down 0-3 is almost always greatly overmatched by their opponent due to talent or injuries. This ain't that.

I don't think the Cs can pull this off, but I'm not sure there are too many similar situations in NBA playoff history.
 

8slim

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Thanks. Probably true of *every* team to some extent.
Yep, the only thing more predictable than the "gotta take it one game at a time" comments before the game is the subtle shade that's thrown after the game. It's all meaningless. Just win game 5 and hush.
 

Van Everyman

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I’m not sure effort is the issue on defense at various points in the series. I know there have been several times where it looks like guys didn’t bother getting back or whatever. But I actually go to Mazz’s quotes about having guys play “connected.”

Which is to say, I suspect the issue is more focus than effort. If you don’t know, or don’t trust your teammate is making the right read, I think ad an individual you are much more likely to hesitate on help D –or overcompensate, possibly by jumping in the air for pump fakes.

This would also explain how the team with so many great individual defenders could struggled as a unit. The good news is, they seem to have figured this out at an important time. Can they keep it going?
 

BaseballJones

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“Staying connected” is a way of phrasing that defense is a team sport. It’s not a one on one sport. You have your man. Then you have help. Then you need to help the helper. Everyone needs to understand their assignment and be in sync. That’s what it means to stay connected on D. Too often they haven’t been and there’s been huge holes. Last night there were a lot fewer mistakes.
 

TripleOT

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White 27 mins, smh

Joe can't wait to bench him, even though Smart is moving like utter crap
Smart was solid in the second half, and made a lot of important plays, Unless he sits a Jay, if Grant is getting time, two of White, Smart, White isn’t.
 

bosockboy

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There have been a total of 150 playoff series to go 3-0/0-3. Of those:

92 finished in a sweep (61.3%)
44 finished in Game 5 (29.3%)
11 finished in Game 6 (7.3%)
3 finished in Game 7 (2%)

As we all know, the leading team has won all of those 150 matchups.


Additionally, only 26 of those 150 series have occurred in the conference finals.

In all cases between 2011-2023, the Conference Finals 3-0 leader-to-series winner have been by the favorite. The last upset? Celtics over Magic in 2010.

What I’m saying is that we’re in a very rare circumstance where the higher ranked team is down in the conference finals.

I haven’t finished scanning but I’m unsure if there has ever been a 8th ranked team to take a 3-0 lead in the Conference Finals.
Like 2004-the Sox were actually a significantly better team than the Yankees. Better teams don’t usually get down 0-3. Applies here.
 

Auger34

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. The pressure would also probably shift back to even at that point. The Celtics coming back to even it up and then losing Game 7 would be the most Celtics thing ever, actually.
I’m sorry but if the Celtics win 3 straight and get it to a Game 7 then the pressure is absolutely 100% on Miami. The entire narrative would be about them possibly blowing a 3-0 lead
 

Auger34

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Smart was solid in the second half, and made a lot of important plays, Unless he sits a Jay, if Grant is getting time, two of White, Smart, White isn’t.
I think the closing lineup should be the starting line up (maybe switch TL for Horford if Horford’s shot isn’t falling)
 

bosockboy

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This is Pollyanna but the hardest part coming back from 0-3 is winning game 4, because it means you didn’t quit. It’s solely about basketball from here on. Doesn’t mean we pull it off, but 538 gives us a 15% chance of winning the NBA title still, down 1-3.
 
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Devizier

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There have been a total of 150 playoff series to go 3-0/0-3. Of those:

92 finished in a sweep (61.3%)
44 finished in Game 5 (29.3%)
11 finished in Game 6 (7.3%)
3 finished in Game 7 (2%)
Interestingly the odds are longer in the game five matchups (roughly ~75% for the leading team if I'm reading this correctly) if we assume those outcomes are predictive. For the record, I think they are only loosely so.
 

tims4wins

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Interestingly the odds are longer in the game five matchups (roughly ~75% for the leading team if I'm reading this correctly) if we assume those outcomes are predictive. For the record, I think they are only loosely so.
Correct, 44 out of 58 = 75.9%
And then 11 out of 14 in game 6 = 78.6%
And then 3 out of 3 in game 7 = 100%

So it gets harder by game.

I would imagine this is at least partly because it is usually the lower seed that falls behind 3-0, so winning game 4 at home has a much higher % than winning game 5 on the road. If you split this up by which team had home court in games 1-2, I bet the numbers would shift a bit.
 

wilked

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Didn't see this noted

First half they had 8 turnovers. If they kept at that pace they were on their way to losing. These were balls off the feet turnovers, sloppy ball-handling, etc type.

Second half, 2 turnovers. Significant difference in terms of cleaning up the play.

I think for me it's turnovers, defensive intensity, and pace of play as my three keys to winning. They had all of those and more in 2H last night
 

lovegtm

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Correct, 44 out of 58 = 75.9%
And then 11 out of 14 in game 6 = 78.6%
And then 3 out of 3 in game 7 = 100%

So it gets harder by game.

I would imagine this is at least partly because it is usually the lower seed that falls behind 3-0, so winning game 4 at home has a much higher % than winning game 5 on the road. If you split this up by which team had home court in games 1-2, I bet the numbers would shift a bit.
I wonder how many higher seeds have even fallen behind 3-0. There will be some for sure, particularly in the later rounds, but not tons.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Brown with only 1 turnover in Game 4 in 37 minutes. He didn’t shoot well from three, 1-5, and missed 3 FTs, but his 4 first half assists were big, as was his second half defense and ball hawking.
And that one turnover was on that slip pass underneath to Rob that Rob really should have caught, and it went out of bounds. It was the right read.

Jaylen played a terrific game yesterday on both ends, with the sole exception being his shot not falling. I don't know if it's injury or just regression to the mean, he wasn't going to shoot 54%/47.5% from deep for the entire playoffs, which is where he was at coming into this series. The fact that he put his head down and contributed in other ways, most notably on defense is good stuff.

The pace was so much better across the board, and it almost always, always pays dividends for this team, going back years now. Spo can't scheme against that, it doesn't give them time to set up their defense (particularly that zone). The C's have to just keep running at all opportunities even if they end up slowing it down for a beat once they get into the front court.

On the defensive end, I think the C's finally realized that reach in fouls are not a thing when playing against Miami. The Heat get away with it religiously, leading to a ton of turnovers. The C's were swiping and slapping at balls all night last night, and it worked. More of that.
 

Mooch

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Through 5 games, Jaylen Brown is putting up one of the worst string of games I've ever seen from an all-NBA player:

16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg -- 39% from the floor, 12% from 3, 44% FT. 2 steals, 0 blocks. Only 9 FT attempts.

That's goddamned awful. He HAS to play better than this going forward, right?
 

Toe Nash

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Didn't see this noted

First half they had 8 turnovers. If they kept at that pace they were on their way to losing. These were balls off the feet turnovers, sloppy ball-handling, etc type.

Second half, 2 turnovers. Significant difference in terms of cleaning up the play.

I think for me it's turnovers, defensive intensity, and pace of play as my three keys to winning. They had all of those and more in 2H last night
Heat had 9 turnovers in the second half, too. Bam 3 on his own. I think they have to be handsy like they were and if you draw some fouls so be it.
 

Ed Hillel

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I’m sorry but if the Celtics win 3 straight and get it to a Game 7 then the pressure is absolutely 100% on Miami. The entire narrative would be about them possibly blowing a 3-0 lead
I don't know, they're the 8 seed, whereas Boston was significant title favorites heading into this round. Game 7, I think there's pretty equal pressure on both teams.
 

sezwho

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Through 5 games, Jaylen Brown is putting up one of the worst string of games I've ever seen from an all-NBA player:

16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg -- 39% from the floor, 12% from 3, 44% FT. 2 steals, 0 blocks. Only 9 FT attempts.

That's goddamned awful. He HAS to play better than this going forward, right?
He likely does but JT is still the bellwether. .
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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So it begs the question (is that the right use of this phrase? I need a ruling): Why didn't Boston run this at all the first three games, when the zone was giving them fits? It's like..... the fundamentals of beating a 2-3 zone - get the ball to a good shooter/distributor at the foul line and it opens up all kinds of options. Boston has an elite guy like that in Tatum and they never did this until last night that one time. It's not a coaching genius move to run this....it's literally a basic 2-3 zone busting concept that you learn in middle school. And it WORKS at all levels. So why didn't Boston try it until last night?
I don't remember details from G1 and G2 but the Cs did run some zone-breaking stuff, including the JT/TL high PnR which SVG noted was killing MIA. I don't think the actual offensive mechanics was at issue - after all, the CS have generated lots of good looks as the statistics note - but the fact they couldn't make anything.
100% PUSH THE PACE
Along the same lines, it's a lot easier to push the pace after missed baskets then after missed baskets.

MIA shot 25% from 3P last night - 8/32. If they had shot 48% like they did the rest of the series, they would have scored 7 more 3Ps and would have beaten the Cs.

We can talk about strategery and matchups and TOs and what not but to me, the bottom line is that if MIA shoots 25% from 3P the Cs will win and if they shoot 48% they will probably win. Not sure where the tipping point is but hopefully for whatever reason MIA misses enough shots so they are down much closer to 25% than 48%.
 

TripleOT

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I don't know, they're the 8 seed, whereas Boston was significant title favorites heading into this round. Game 7, I think there's pretty equal pressure on both teams.
Miami didn’t close Boston out at home, just like Philly this year, and the Bucks and Heat last year. The pressure is on Miami to get another win. Boston can just go out and play their game. They are in a predicament where 149 other teams didn’t succeed. Boston is Hard To Kill, as they came out of their three game coma. Let’s see if Miami can kill them. The longer it takes, the stronger they get.
 

NomarsFool

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My takeaways:

1) Tatum is just a really good basketball player. Being able to go to him for buckets consistently is what helped to put this game away. But, not just on offense, he was also great defensively and on the boards as well.

2) I actually like Brown's game last night. I feel pretty confident that there is something going on with this hand or elbow so that his shot isn't 100%. But, last night it seemed like he was making an extra effort with passing and doing other things to contribute. Would I have preferred he was putting up an effortless 30 points as he had been doing before? Of course, but it was a big improvement from his game 3.

3) Smart had some big baskets. I was getting a little nervous early after Smart hit his second 3P (which if I recall correctly seemed like a fairly contested shot in the corner) and then I was worried it was going to be bombs away. But, after a few misses he hit some more - which he needed to do - because Miami really leaves him alone. I just wish maybe he could be just a smidge closer to the 3P line so that he doesn't have to take such long shots.

4) Not sure what is going on with Brogdon. Boy, he's really struggling this series. Maybe he'll turn it around soon, but I'm wondering a bit why Hauser isn't getting some minutes instead of Brogdon.
 

BaseballJones

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I don't remember details from G1 and G2 but the Cs did run some zone-breaking stuff, including the JT/TL high PnR which SVG noted was killing MIA. I don't think the actual offensive mechanics was at issue - after all, the CS have generated lots of good looks as the statistics note - but the fact they couldn't make anything.

Along the same lines, it's a lot easier to push the pace after missed baskets then after missed baskets.

MIA shot 25% from 3P last night - 8/32. If they had shot 48% like they did the rest of the series, they would have scored 7 more 3Ps and would have beaten the Cs.

We can talk about strategery and matchups and TOs and what not but to me, the bottom line is that if MIA shoots 25% from 3P the Cs will win and if they shoot 48% they will probably win. Not sure where the tipping point is but hopefully for whatever reason MIA misses enough shots so they are down much closer to 25% than 48%.
Three point shooting:

Game 1 - Heat win by 7
- Mia: 16-31, .516
- Bos: 10-29, .349
**Mia +.167, +18 points

Game 2 - Heat win by 6
- Mia: 9-26, .346
- Bos: 10-35, .286
**Mia +.060, -3 points

Game 3 - Heat win by 26
- Mia: 19-35, .543
- Bos: 11-42, .262
**Mia: +.281, +24 points

Game 4 - Celtics win by 17
- Mia: 8-32, .250
- Bos: 18-45, .400
**Bos: +.150, +30 points

So far, the team that's simply shot the best from three has won the game. It's not as simple as that, but it's obviously been a huge key.


And Boston should push the pace even after made baskets. Just hustle to inbound the ball and sprint up the court. You are still forcing them to work harder on D and it puts pressure on them.
 

Auger34

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And that one turnover was on that slip pass underneath to Rob that Rob really should have caught, and it went out of bounds. It was the right read.

Jaylen played a terrific game yesterday on both ends, with the sole exception being his shot not falling. I don't know if it's injury or just regression to the mean, he wasn't going to shoot 54%/47.5% from deep for the entire playoffs, which is where he was at coming into this series. The fact that he put his head down and contributed in other ways, most notably on defense is good stuff.
He had 2 or 3 misses that were in and out as well.

It seemed like Jaylen recognized the shot wasn’t falling and decided he was going to get in the paint and set up others…and he did a damn good job at it. To me, it was an incredibly encouraging game and showed that he has the ability to make plays for others.

He also completely put the clamps on Jimmy Butler at really important times throughout the game.

To my eye, he seems injured and isn’t completely confident in his shot but who knows. He’s obviously healthy enough to play and these guys normally don’t make excuses this time of year
 

Auger34

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And Boston should push the pace even after made baskets. Just hustle to inbound the ball and sprint up the court. You are still forcing them to work harder on D and it puts pressure on them.
Boston did this multiple times yesterday and it almost always worked out tremendously
 

BaseballJones

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Boston did this multiple times yesterday and it almost always worked out tremendously
Yep. And to be honest, Miami did too. They got the ball and immediately inbounded it and pushed hard up the court and it usually led to something good for them too. That's because.....it works. It works for Miami and it also works for Boston. It's just a matter of DOING it.
 

bigq

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Through 5 games, Jaylen Brown is putting up one of the worst string of games I've ever seen from an all-NBA player:

16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg -- 39% from the floor, 12% from 3, 44% FT. 2 steals, 0 blocks. Only 9 FT attempts.

That's goddamned awful. He HAS to play better than this going forward, right?
I think you meant through 4 games.

I don't think his counting stats from the past 4 games are awful however it is clear that he has not been shooting well.

In the prior 4 games his shooting was much better and he went:

22.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg --53% from the floor, 44% from 3, 58% FT. 3 steals, 3 blocks.

The NBA is a game of runs. Good players have bad stretches of games. His next four will be much better. :)
 

Mooch

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I think you meant through 4 games.

I don't think his counting stats from the past 4 games are awful however it is clear that he has not been shooting well.

In the prior 4 games his shooting was much better and he went:

22.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg --53% from the floor, 44% from 3, 58% FT. 3 steals, 3 blocks.

The NBA is a game of runs. Good players have bad stretches of games. His next four will be much better. :)
Yes, 4 games. Not enough coffee this am.
 

Auger34

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Miami didn’t close Boston out at home, just like Philly this year, and the Bucks and Heat last year. The pressure is on Miami to get another win. Boston can just go out and play their game. They are in a predicament where 149 other teams didn’t succeed. Boston is Hard To Kill, as they came out of their three game coma. Let’s see if Miami can kill them. The longer it takes, the stronger they get.
IMO, and I feel pretty strongly about this, the pressure is now firmly on Miami in every game. They got the 3-0 lead. To most people it’s the question of when, not if, they close the Celtics out. Each Celtics win, the pressure is raised on the Heat (I should have saad the heat is more turned up on the heat)
 

Pmoose82

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The Celtics coming back to even it up and then losing Game 7 would be the most Celtics thing ever, actually.
I know most people on this board like to talk about this team like they're a bunch of choking dogs, but more times than not they've won in the face of adversity. Clearly they like to make things as difficult as possible, but I don't know how people watched them against Philly this year and Milwaukee last year and don't give them credit for being resilient.
 

TripleOT

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Miami Undrafted in the second half of game 4: 15 points on 16 shots (including 4 garbage time points), 1-10 from three.

Butler 1-5 for 5 points and only 1 assist in the fourth quarter. Miami had only 5 baskets before a garbage time bucket. Miami coughed it up 4 times. Boston with 7 assists to only 1 TO.
 

Auger34

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This has been brought up in this thread already but I want to reiterate..the potential Gabe Vincent injury is huge. He's been one of their core guys this series and Lowry has been sneaky terrible.
If Vincent is hobbled at all or can't play, that is a huge break for Boston
 

benhogan

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Lol, they dominated the 4th, Mazzulla found something with Grant, and you're complaining?

Coaching really is a thankless job. Mazz killed it, both in lineup flexibility and getting the players ready to play.
I've been banging on this all season.

White is better than a hobbled Smart, if CJM wants to continue to play suboptimal rotations then we'll see how it plays out
 

benhogan

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Except that’s not what happened
Smart played 35mins
White played 27 mins.

Their minutes/play should be switched IMO.

Earlier, you failed to account for Smart re-entering the game with 2mins left in Q1.

If you look hard enough, it's always easy to find something to complain about.

White played the first 8 minutes of the first quarter until both he and Marcus were subbed. In the 2nd quarter, White played all but the last 2 minutes, when Grant was put in. Smart had sat most of the 2nd already. White played the entire 3rd and was pulled for Smart 3 minutes into the final quarter with the Celtics holding 9 point lead. And the Celtics were never really threatened anytime after that, so no real reason to put him back in during the latter part of the 4th.

White's never been a big minutes guy in his career, so 27-28 mpg is probably what you can expect.
It's not something I'm looking for in THIS game, it's something that has been a problem since Marcus was injured a few months back. If you feel a hobbled Smart is better than White that's cool, I don't. Marcus is moving like crap on D
 

Deathofthebambino

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I wonder how many higher seeds have even fallen behind 3-0. There will be some for sure, particularly in the later rounds, but not tons.
I just posted this in the other thread. In the 2-2-1-1-1 format (all playoff series since 1984, except for the Finals from 1985-2013), only 13 higher seeded teams have fallen behind 3-0. They are obviously 0-13.

But, only 3 of those teams won game 4 on the road. Obviously, they are 0-3.

Only one of those teams won game 5 at home.

Nobody has made it to Game 7after falling behind 0-3 as the higher seed, but it certainly has not happened often enough to make it as improbable as the other way around.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/7-game-playoff-series-outcomes-22111.html
 
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