When the Celtics failed to close out the Magic last night (losing in OT, 96-92, after having been outplayed by Orlando for much of the game), few NBA observers seemed to be worried.
After all, having seen the pistol-whipping that the Cs administered in Games 1-3, who would think that this Magic team could climb out of the heretofore insurmountable 0-3 hole?
Of the 279 teams across all sports that have gone up 3-0, all but 4 have gone on to win; and three of the comebacks have occurred in the NHL (1942 Toronto; 1975 Islanders; 2010 Flyers.)*
(*-Yes, we all know the other 0-3 winner.)
88 NBA teams have gone up 3-0, and each one of them has gone on to win the respective series. But of those 88, just 14 have been situations where the 'better' team (i.e., the team that held home court advantage in the series) went down 0-3.
So the odds aren't in favor of the Magic. But if you were going to script a comeback -- a young, athletic team (which by the way, had a very successful regular season) that seemed lost for 3 games finding its sea legs when a sloppy, disinterested veteran team already seemed to be looking to get ready for the NBA Finals -- it would look something like this.
If the Magic protect home court in Game 5, the pressure will turn to the Celtics on Friday night.