The Cleveland Cavaliers are now down 3-0 in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors after their heartbreaking loss in Game 3 Wednesday night. The Cavs came back down from 3-1 last year, but can they do the impossible of coming down from 3-0?

It's never been done in the NBA Finals, but neither has coming back from 3-1. Just one win in Game 4 can begin the "3-1" memes all over again.

JR Smith, in a deleted tweet where he claims he was hacked, said this after Game 3:

Could Cleveland actually do it? I'm not betting on it, but I'm not going to say it's impossible (word to Kevin Garnett).

Coming back from 3-0 and winning has happened before in professional sports, just not in the NBA. However, forcing a Game 7 after being down 3-0 has occurred in the playoffs (once in the Finals).

The only problem is that it's only happened three times. The last time it occurred was in 2003. Let's take a look at those teams to make it happen.

1951 NBA Finals: Rochester Royals vs New York Knicks

My goodness, talk about going way back. The Royals were able to win the NBA Finals back in 1951, despite blowing their 3-0 lead to the New York Knicks. They were able to win a close Game 7, 79-75.

Here's the game-by-game breakdown
Game 1 @ Rochester (April 7): Rochester 92, New York 65
Game 2 @ Rochester (April 8): Rochester 99, New York 84
Game 3 @ New York (April 11): Rochester 78, New York 71
Game 4 @ New York (April 13): New York 79, Rochester 73
Game 5 @ Rochester (April 15): New York 92, Rochester 89
Game 6 @ New York (April 18): New York 80, Rochester 73
Game 7 @ Rochester (April 21): Rochester 79, New York 75

1994 WCSF: Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz

The Denver Nuggets were a crazy cinderella team this year. In the best-of-5 first round, the Nuggets became the first 8th seed in NBA history to beat the No. 1 seed, defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in five games. They were down 0-2 to start that series. 

In the second round, they found themselves down 3-0 to the Utah Jazz. However, they rallied to become the second team ever to force a Game 7. They ended up losing that game though, 91-81. 

Game-by-game breakdown below:
Game 1 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 10): Utah 100, Denver 91
Game 2 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 12): Utah 104, Denver 94
Game 3 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 14): Utah 111, Denver 109 (OT) (Karl Malone hits the game-tying shot (he stepped on the line for 2 points) with 9.2 seconds left, forcing OT)
Game 4 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 15): Denver 83, Utah 82 (Reggie Williams hits the game winner with 1.9 seconds remaining)
Game 5 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 17): Denver 109, Utah 101 (2OT)
Game 6 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 19): Denver 94, Utah 91 (Denver became the first team since the 1951 New York Knicks to force a Game 7 after being down 0–3)
Game 7 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 21): Utah 91, Denver 81

2003 Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks vs Portland Trail Blazers

The last time a team has ever forced a Game 7 being down 3-0 in the playoffs was in 2003 with the 6-seed Portland Trail Blazers against the 3-seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Portland, however, came up short in Game 7.

The Blazers lost, 107-95, thanks to Dirk Nowitzki's 31 points and 11 rebounds. Dirk had 12 of those points in the fourth.

Here are some cool quotes from that game:
"I know nobody's ever done it before and I suppose we didn't want to be the first ones," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "But what are you going to do about it?"

"I know a lot of people didn't believe that we could come back and win three games," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We really believed we could win this seventh game." 
Game-by-game breakdown:
VenueTV TimeRecap
1April 19Portland86Dallas960–1American Airlines CenterDallasTNT 8:00 EDT/7:00CTRecap
2April 23Portland99Dallas1030–2American Airlines CenterDallasTNT 9:30 EDT/8:30CTRecap
3April 25Dallas115Portland1030–3Rose Garden ArenaPortlandESPN 10:30 EDT/7:30PTRecap
4April 27Dallas79Portland981–3Rose Garden ArenaPortlandTNT 8:00 EDT/7:00PTRecap
5April 30Portland103Dallas992–3American Airlines CenterDallasTNT 8:00 EDT/7:00CTRecap
6May 2Dallas103Portland1253–3Rose Garden ArenaPortlandESPN 10:30 EDT/7:30PTRecap
7May 4Portland95Dallas1073–4American Airlines CenterDallasABC 3:30 EDT/2:30CTRecap
Dallas wins series 4–3
So there you have it. The only three times an NBA team has come back from an 0-3 deficit. They were all able to force Game 7s, but just couldn't get the job done in the last one.  Could Cleveland be the first team to do it?

It all starts with them winning Game 4 first on Friday night.


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