By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toronto Raptors dropped their first two games versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals, but stormed back to clinch their first NBA Finals berth. They became the 21st team in NBA Playoffs history to fight back from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series, only the sixth to complete such a spectacular turnaround in the Conference Finals.
Out of the six Conference Finals that the team behind 2-0 ultimately progressed, the five occurred in the Eastern Conference Finals. Just last year, 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers dug their way out of a 2-0 hole to eliminate the Boston Celtics. They did the same in 2007 by taking out the Detroit Pistons.
The Baltimore Bullets eliminated the New York Knicks in 1971 and the Chicago Bulls punished the Knicks in similar fashion in 1993. The only Western Conference Finals turnaround from a 2-0 deficit was achieved by the Oklahoma City Thunder over the San Antonio Spurs in 2012.
In 1969, 1977, 2006 and 2016, four teams won the NBA Championship in spite of their defeats in Game 1 and Game 2. The Boston Celtics paved the way in 1969 against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977, the Miami Heat in 2006 and the Cavaliers in 2016 followed.
Full list of 2-0 turnarounds:
|Year||Winning Team||Losing Team||Round|
|1969||Boston Celtics||Los Angeles Lakers||NBA Finals|
|1969||Los Angeles Lakers||San Francisco Warriors||Western Conference Semifinals|
|1971||Baltimore Bullets||New York Knicks||Eastern Conference Finals|
|1977||Portland Trail Blazers||Philadelphia 76ers||NBA Finals|
|1993||Chicago Bulls||New York Knicks||Eastern Conference Finals|
|1994||Houston Rockets||Phoenix Suns||Western Conference Semifinals|
|1995||Houston Rockets||Phoenix Suns||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2004||Los Angeles Lakers||San Antonio Spurs||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2005||Washington Wizards||Chicago Bulls||Eastern Conference Quarterfinals|
|2005||Dallas Mavericks||Houston Rockets||Western Conference Quarterfinals|
|2006||Miami Heat||Dallas Mavericks||NBA Finals|
|2007||Utah Jazz||Houston Rockets||Western Conference Quarterfinals|
|2007||Cleveland Cavaliers||Detroit Pistons||Eastern Conference Finals|
|2008||San Antonio Spurs||New Orleans Hornets||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2012||Oklahoma City Thunder||San Antonio Spurs||Western Conference Finals|
|2013||Memphis Grizzlies||Los Angeles Clippers||Western Conference Quarterfinals|
|2016||Portland Trail Blazers||Los Angeles Clippers||Western Conference Quarterfinals|
|2016||Cleveland Cavaliers||Golden State Warriors||NBA Finals|
|2017||Boston Celtics||Chicago Bulls||Eastern Conference Quarterfinals|
|2018||Cleveland Cavaliers||Boston Celtics||Eastern Conference Finals|
|2019||Toronto Raptors||Milwaukee Bucks||Eastern Conference Finals|