The Lakers are down a shocking 0-3 against the Mavericks. No expert – even the biggest Lakers skeptics or Mavericks believers – had predicted this. They are now staring at elimination (or even a sweep).
One often cited statistics is that no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit in a best of 7 series. Some teams made it all the way back to 3-3, but they all lost in game 7. (Some years ago, this happened to Trailblazers against the Mavericks).
The Lakers, however, are in a good position break the losing tradition of the 0-3 club. Below are 5 reasons.
1) The Lakers are more than capable of winning 4 in a row. In fact, in the 2001 playoffs, they won 11 in a row before losing the only game in their championship run that year. Of course, the 2001 team had Shaq O’Neal. The Lakers, however, are capable of winning 4 in a row without Shaq, as they did in the 2010 playoffs against the Utah Jazz.
2) The Lakers are a battle-tested veteran team that can bounce back psychologically. They’ve played plenty playoff games and been in game 7 situations (like the 2010 NBA finals, which they won). If one had to pick a team to overcome an 0-3 deficit, the Lakers would be a good bet.
3) The Lakers aren’t structurally disadvantaged and incapable of winning. It’s not like they’re an inferior team or have a mismatch problem, like the Cavaliers did against the Magic in the 2009 playoffs. If the Lakers just get their act together, rotate better defensively, and overcome their emotional frustrations, they can win four straight against the Mavericks.
4) The Mavericks are a jumping-shooting and offense-oriented team. This means they’re streaky. They’ve been hot games 1, 2, and 3. In games 4 through 7, they can go cold.
5) It’s now the Mavericks’ series to lose. They’re now the favorites and the pressure is on them. In the past, the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki often choked under pressure and in the playoffs. Games 4 through 7 are all closeout games for the Mavericks, so they’re high pressure. The Mavericks can conceivably choke in all of them.