Facing a 2-0 deficit, history not on Bulls' side

Facing a 2-0 deficit, history not on Bulls' side
April 23, 2014, 9:45 am
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Mark Strotman

The Bulls were stunned for a second straight game against the Wizards, who once again overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to pick up a win and take a commanding 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven first round series.

It's no secret that the Bulls have serious work to do -- in theory they'll now need to beat the Wizards 4-1 to advance -- and history is definitely not on their side.

Since 1969, 18 different teams have taken a 2-0 series on the road. And in those series, those teams are 15-3, with nine of those 15 winners sweeping the higher-seeded team. Here's a list of those matchups, as compiled by Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman. (The three teams that overcame 2-0 home deficits are bolded.)

  • 2011: Dallas Mavericks beat Los Angeles Lakers in conference semifinals, 4-0
  • 2010: Boston Celtics beat Orlando Magic in conference finals, 4-2
  • 2008: Utah Jazz beat Houston Rockets in first round, 4-2
  • 2005: San Antonio Spurs beat Phoenix Suns in conference finals, 4-1
  • 2005: Houston Rockets lost to Dallas Mavericks in first round, 4-3
  • 2003: New Jersey Nets beat Detroit Pistons in conference finals, 4-0
  • 2001: Los Angeles Lakers beat San Antonio Spurs in conference finals, 4-0
  • 1999: New York Knicks beat Atlanta Hawks in conference semifinals, 4-0
  • 1995: Houston Rockets beat Orlando Magic in NBA Finals, 4-0
  • 1995: Houston Rockets beat San Antonio Spurs in conference finals, 4-2
  • 1994: Phoenix Suns lost to Houston Rockets in conference semifinals, 4-3
  • 1993: Chicago Bulls beat Phoenix Suns in NBA Finals, 4-2
  • 1987: Seattle SuperSonics beat Houston Rockets in conference semifinals, 4-2
  • 1985: Philadelphia 76ers beat Milwaukee Bucks in conference semifinals, 4-0
  • 1983: Milwaukee Bucks beat Boston Celtics in conference semifinals, 4-0
  • 1977: Portland Trail Blazers beat Los Angeles Lakers in conference finals, 4-0
  • 1970: Los Angeles Lakers beat Atlanta Hawks in division finals, 4-0
  • 1969: San Francisco Warriors lost to Los Angeles Lakers in division semifinals, 4-2


Two of those 18 series occurred in the first round as No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchups (in italics). In 2005 the fifth-seeded Rockets won two games in Dallas, with the fourth-seeded Mavericks eventually winning Games 3, 4, 5 and 7 to advance. So it has happened, but not in nine seasons.

[MORE: Offensive woes doom Bulls in Game 2 loss]

There's also some other good news for the Bulls. The Wizards were 22-19 at home this season, the worst record among any team in this year's playoffs. Even the No. 8 seed Hawks, winners of 38 games all season, went 24-17 at home. The Wizards' 22-19 mark away from the nation's capital was tied with Miami and Toronto for the best mark in the East, so Randy Wittman's group performing well Sunday and Tuesday wasn't all that big a surprise.

On the flip side, the Bulls managed a 21-20 record away from the United Center this season. They lost their last two (at New York, at Charlotte), but since Feb. 9 have gone 10-5.

The Bulls have their work cut out for them, but if Tom Thibodeau's group has proven anything this season it's that they handle adversity fairly well.