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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks joined elite company when they dispatched the Chris Paul, Devin Booker-led Phoenix Suns in the NBA finals, 4-2, after losing the first two games.
They were the fifth team in NBA history to reverse a 0-2 series deficit and win the title. Of the five teams, they were the third to win four straight to close the series.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with his 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 blocks production and was named Finals MVP.
Going up 2-0 in the NBA Finals is not an uncommon scenario. Including the 2021 NBA Finals, there had been 36 instances out of 75 total finals series played where a team quickly established a 2-0 series lead. That’s 48% of the time.
Unsurprising, 31 teams with a 2-0 lead won series. That’s 86.1% of the time.
The Bucks became the latest component of the remaining 13.9%, the teams which reversed a 0-2 and emerged winners in the final outcome.
All five comebacking teams don’t have homecourt advantage. Except the Bucks, all closed the series on the road and celebrated their championship on the opponent’s floor.
Here are the teams and notable players the 2020-21 Bucks are joining:
2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers
These Cavaliers not only rallied from a 0-2 hole but also became one of the few teams to recover from a 1-3 deficit to win the title.
They did it against a Golden State Warriors squad that won an NBA record 73 games in the regular season.
Further, LeBron James, the Finals MVP, made history in this series by becoming the first player to lead both teams in a Finals series in five major individual stat categories. He averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 assists, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks a game.
He later made a controversial claim that overcoming these odds to give the Cavaliers its first championship made him the greatest player in NBA history.
The Cavaliers lineup also featured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love while the Warriors were led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
2005-06 Miami Heat
This battle of teams that had never appeared in the NBA Finals was won by a Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’neal-led Heat over the Dirk Nowtizki led-Dallas Mavericks.
The 60-win Mavericks were perceived to run away with the title by dominating the first two games by an average of 12 points.
Miami, however, proved winning margins in a series mean nothing as they cameback to take the final four game with an average winning margin of 7.5 points. Three of them were decided by a combined margin of just six points.
Wade was excellent during the comeback, averaging 39.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals while shooting 50.5% from the field. He was named Finals MVP.
1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers
This was the Bill Walton led the Portland Trail Blazers who defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. The Blazers were seeded third and ousted the top-seeded Lakers in the West Finals by a sweep.
Walton, Maurice Lucas and the Blazers were up against Hall of Famers Julius Erving and George McGinnis in the Finals.
Walton was unstoppable in the series, averaging 18.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 3.7 blocks, He took the MVP honors home after delivering the Trail Blazers what became their first and still only NBA championship to date.
1968-69 Boston Celtics
This Bill Russell-John Havlicek led Celtics engineered one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals history by finishing the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. The Celtics, the fourth place team in the Eastern Conference that season, played all their series without homecourt advantage and won each of them.
This Celtics team won “only” 48 games during the regular season and repeated as champions by defeating three 50+ win teams along the way.
Not only that, the Lakers boosts of a team that includes Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West on their roster. This was the only time where a player from the losing team was awarded the Finals MVP.
West averaged 37.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists. He recorded 42 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists triple double in Game 7.
By: ARMANDO BOLISLIS