This week we once again learned how difficult it is to come back from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven NBA series, something only eight teams have accomplished in NBA history.
This year a whopping six teams found themselves in a 3-1 hole and two went home in Game 5, another two in Game 6 and a final two were sent packing by the LA teams in Game 7.
Last week ESPN’s John Hollinger wrote after the Pacers had ended Orlando’s long-shot hopes that there was a 59.1 percent chance of at least one team finishing the job, according to AccuScore’s ESPN NBA Playoff Predictor.
Personally, I really liked Memphis’ chances and thought the Bulls had a decent shot as well since two of the three games both teams would need to win would come on their home floor.
Instead, the 2006 Suns remain the last team to pull off a 3-1 comeback. Surely you remember that fascinating first-round series that featured a Kobe buzzer-beater in Game 4 amid some interesting officiating, the Raja Bell clothesline on Kobe in Game 5, the Tim Thomas shot that saved a season and a book in Game 6 as well as the Kobe pass contest in a Game 7 rout.
In honor of the second-seeded Suns completing the kind of thrilling series comeback that nobody has duplicated in the past six years — and for the series being so darn exciting — I give you this YouTube video featuring the highlights of that seven-game roller coaster:
The Suns also appear twice on the list of teams who have lost a series after taking a 3-1 lead.
They blew a 3-1 lead to the 1995 Rockets that culminated with Mario Elie’s Kiss of Death in a year Houston won it all. The 1970 Suns also lost the same lead to the Lakers in the Western semis during a year in which Los Angeles lost to the Knicks in the Finals in the Willis Reed Game.