There's still a ways to go for the Golden State Warriors in this year's NBA playoffs. Thursday night, led by league MVP Stephen Curry, the defending champions began to claw its way back from a 3 games to 1 series deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
Sparked by Curry's 31 points, the Warriors won 120-111 at Oracle Arena, their home court. But they'll still need to take two straight games to complete the comeback against the Thunder — led by the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook — and advance to the NBA Finals. The Warriors have already had a memorable season, breaking the regular-season wins record many thought was untouchable.
But history shows that the Warriors — pursuing back-to-back titles and a chance at a near-perfect season — still face long odds. Golden State has started the comeback from 3-1, but just nine teams in NBA history have been able to pull it off. That's nine teams out 233 who have faced 3-1 odds. That equates to a 3.86 percent success rate.
1. Boston Celtics - 1968 Eastern Conference Finals: Boston won two games on the road against the defending champion Philadelphia 76ers and another at home to complete a stunning comeback. They beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - 1970 Western Conference Semifinals: Led by NBA legends Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the Lakers toppled the Phoenix Suns. L.A. would eventually lose to the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals.
3. Washington Bullets - 1979 Eastern Conference Finals: Washington stunned a San Antonio Spurs squad led by George "The Iceman" Gervin, but lost to the Seattle Supersonics 4-1 in the NBA Finals.
4. Boston Celtics - 1981 Eastern Conference Finals: The Larry Bird-led Celtics stunned the Sixers like they did in '68 and went on to beat the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.
5. Houston Rockets - 1995 Western Conference Semifinals: The Hakeem Olajuwon-led Rockets barely escaped the Suns in overtime in Game 5, but then took Game 6 and Game 7 to complete the comeback. The Rockets beat the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals before sweeping the Orlando Magic to take the title. It was Houston's second straight title.
6. Miami Heat - 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals: The Heat shocked the Knicks in a series remembered for its intense, violent play. The Knicks were hampered by suspensions for fighting and couldn't keep up with the Miami Heat. Miami went on to lose to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the conference finals.
7. Detroit Pistons - 2003 Eastern Conference First Round: The top-seeded Detroit Pistons fell behind to the Magic but overwhelmed Orlando in the final three games. The Pistons went on to fall to the New Jersey Nets in the conference finals.
8. Phoenix Suns - 2006 Western Conference First Round: The Phoenix Suns needed overtime in Game 6 but they edged out a Kobe Bryant-led Lakers squad. Phoenix went on to lose in the Western Conference finals to the Dallas Mavericks.
9. Houston Rockets - 2015 Western Conference Semifinals: The Warriors can take solace in the fact that a team has come back from a 3-1 deficit in very recent history. The Los Angeles Clippers collapsed in last season's semifinals to the James Harden-led Rockets. The Warriors overwhelmed the Rockets in the conference finals and went on to win the title over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
History shows it's not impossible for the Warriors to pull off a remarkable series comeback. , and they'll need to take Game 6 on the road Saturday night in Oklahoma City. But while it's certainly possible, the data-drive ESPN offshoot FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors just a 25 percent chance of advancing to the NBA Finals, even after Golden State moved the series to 3-2.