The play-offs arrive at the business end of the NBA season and not even COVID-19 has prevented the league from continuing. Such is the determination of the NBA, the league attracts incredible competitors who don’t know when to quit. And the fans who are fortunate enough can capitalize by betting on losing teams and win incredible jackpots on successful comebacks in the NBA finals.
Celtics Overcome the 76ers in 1968
Back in 1968, the Boston Celtics appeared down and out against the Philadelphia 76ers, who had raced ahead to a 3-1 series lead after losing the first game. Philadelphia Legend Wilt Chamberlain was targeting his second Championship victory in two seasons and the Celtics seemed destined for defeat. This wasn’t what Boston wanted to see, having witnessed the demise of their eight-season winning streak a year earlier.
As veterans of the play-offs, the Celtics were able to recover in the Eastern Division Finals, with Sam Jones scoring 37 points to help the team lessen the deficit to 3-2. The next game saw John Havlicek put up 28 points as the Celtics won 114-106 to place the series in the balance at 3-3. Having reversed the momentum, the Celtics triumphed 100-96 in a tense spectacle that sent them on to victory against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1968 final.
Biggest American Jackpots in the NBA
When betting on the NBA, there have been some incredible jackpots won in America. And one of the best stories for lucky people came when former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy placed a $200,000 bet on the Golden State Warriors to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Playoff Final. In turn, McCoy won one of the biggest American jackpots by scoring a profit of $62,500. For the Warriors, this was a comeback in that they overcame the Cavaliers, despite having lost in the final year earlier.
One of the biggest wins in the NBA is now going to be followed by one of the worst defeats, which, ironically, is the result of an incredible comeback. In December 2019, an online sportsbook in Australia accepted a $139,500 money-line wager for the Dallas Mavericks to defeat the Toronto Raptors. The unfortunate punter likely thought he was home and dry when the Mavericks raced ahead to an 83-53 lead with two minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
However, the Raptors were are the reigning champions while playing in the 2019-20 season and exhibited their quality and fortitude by scoring 47 points to win 110-107. In litter over a quarter, the Raptors scored 57 points versus a mere 24 for the Mavericks. Ultimately, 20 points from Kyle Lowery would prove to be pivotal for the Raptors.
Celtics Repeat History in 1981
Only three teams in the history of the NBA have come back from 3-1 deficits to win, and one of them has achieved the feat twice. Begrudgingly, respect must be given to the Boston Celtics for repeating the achievement of 1968 but in the 1981 Eastern Conference Final. What’s even more striking is that the 76ers were again the victims of the Celtics.
When watching NBA videos, should at least go back and check out the highlights from the 1981 Eastern Conference Final. The Celtics had Larry Bird back then and managed to win the second game to place the series in the balance at 1-1. However, Julius Erving won the next two games, 110-100 and 107-105, respectively, to lead 3-1.
The 76ers were one game from the NBA Finals had the chance to banish the demons of 1968. A nail-biting encounter followed and the Celtics edged the fifth game 111-109. It was okay, though, the 76ers could still make the finals. Another nail-biter followed and the 76ers were edged out at 100-98 and the series was 3-3. Fate, however, dealt the 76ers a cruel hand as the Celtics triumphed 91-90 and then won in the finals against the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets Take Flight in 1995
Speaking of the rockets, they are the second of the three teams to come from 3-1 to win in the playoffs. After overcoming the Utah Jazz 3-2 in the first round of the 1995 play-offs, the Rockets were handed a Western Conference semi-final appearance against the Phoenix, who had comfortably swept the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Suns were too hot to handle and secured a 2-0 advantage before the Rockets won 118-85 in the third game. However, the revival was short-lived and the Suns won 114-110 to take a 3-1 lead. Having reached the point of no return, the Rockets sparked into life and won three straight games to take the series. The highlight was a 115-114 conclusion in which Kevin Johnson valiantly scored 46 points in defeat. Houston would go on to defeat the Orlando Magic in the finals.
The Cavalier Comeback of 2016
Arguably, the greater comeback in an NBA Playoff Final came in 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers were exposed to a 3-1 deficit in the series and faced an immense challenge in needing to topple the reigning champions in the form of the Golden State Warriors. And the occasion was all the more poignant because this was Cleveland’s third appearance in the final, having previously failed to win on two previous occasions.
Hometown Hero LeBron James spent five seasons trying to win a championship with the Cavaliers. And he came closest in the 2006-07 season, losing in a sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. Three seasons later and King James left Cleveland without delivering a championship. Having arrived in Miami, LeBron won back-to-back championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Now recognized as a champion, LeBron returned to Cleveland and guided the Cavaliers to a final berth against the rampant Golden State Warriors. However, the dream faded when the Cavs sacrificed a 2-1 series lead and lost the championship. Incredibly, the Cavs bounced back the following season and would again face the Warriors in 2015-16. All appeared lost, however, when the Cavs fell 3-1 behind in the series. LeBron’s championship pedigree was unleashed, though, and the Cavs completed of the greatest-ever come back in the history of the NBA playoffs to win 4-3.