Never Say Die invades the NBA


Coming back from twenty points down, especially in the third quarter, to win an NBA game was farfetched before. There were 11 of them during the first two months of this NBA season.

According to the “Why 2017-18 is the season of NBA comebacks” report from, of the 12,300 games played in the last 10 years, only 100 times did a team went down by 20 or more came back to win the game for a 0.81% ratio. Moreover, the same article said overturning this seemingly impossible deficit in four of the past five seasons happened 11 times only.

The 11 instances that a team overhauled a 20-point or more deficit occurring this season happened with only 520 games played.

The Boston Celtics registered the best comeback of season so far when they outlasted the Houston Rockets, 99-98, on December 28. The Celtics were down by 26, 42-67, 8:20 left in the third but engineered a furious rally to reverse the outcome.

Th Celtics did not lead anytime during the game until final basket, an Al Horford semi-hook after James Harden turned the ball over after being called for an offensive foul (he was whistled for two in the last seven seconds, both due to pushing Marcus Smart).

To show just how almost impossible this occurrence is, the Rockets are 179-0 when having a 25 or more lead at one point in a game.

The others who did the trick are: (2) the golden State Warriors beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 124-116, on November while being down 24 in the third; (3) the Cleveland Cavaliers outlasting the New York Knicks, 104-101, on November 13, coming back from a 23-point deficit in the third; (4) The San Antonio Spurs over the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-101, on November 17, overhauling a 23 point deficit in the second;

(5) The Phoenix Suns beating the Washington Wizards on All-Saints Day, 122-116, erasing a 22 point lead in the second; (6) The Indiana Pacers stopping the Detroit Pistons, 107-100, on November 17, after being down by 22 late in the third; (7) the Rockets bombing the Knicks, 117-102, on November 25, after being down by 22 in the first; (8) the Pistons knocking out the Knicks, 111-107, on October 21, falling by as much as 21 in the second;

(9) the Warriors pulling out the rug of the New Orleans Pelicans, 125-115, on December 4, erasing a 21-point deficit in the second; (10) the Toronto Raptors defeating the 76ers, 114-109, on December 21, coming back from a 21 point deficit in the third; and the Milwaukee Bucks goring the Minnesota Timberwolves, 102-96, on the same day the Celtics did the Rockets, after being down by 20 midway through the third.

Only the Warriors did the trick twice. The Knicks fell victim thrice while the Sixers twice.

The Rockets, Wizards, Pistons, Pelicans, Wolves, and Thunder were the playoff-bound teams that fell victims while the Suns were the only non-playoff bound team that became a victor.

The Wizards (defeated by Phoenix), the Pistons (falling to Indiana) and the Rockets (outlasted by Boston) are the teams that fall to a “weaker” team based on their win-loss records.

The Rockets have the best record in the NBA when the Celtics, owners of the best record in the Eastern conference, brought them down.

The loss of the Thunder happened when they were in the middle of their losing slide.