How many NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit?

The Miami Heat now face a 3-1 series hole to the Boston Celtics after stealing home-court advantage but dropping both games in South Beach.
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Four / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

About a week ago, it seemed like the Miami Heat injected new life into their culture and fanbase with a remarkable Game 2 win against the Boston Celtics. They were able to tie the series up 1-1 on the road and steal home-court advantage as a no. 8 seed in the first round in back-to-back seasons. Unfortunately, Miami dropped both games in front of their home fans, including Monday night's Game 4 loss. Now that Game 2 win seems more like an anomaly.

Following that Game 2 win, there was a lot to look forward to. Could the Heat have kept that elite shooting pace going? Would they get Terry Rozier back in time to make this a series? Monday night's 102-88 loss saw the Heat go down 1-3 in the series, virtually shut down any chance they had.

There have only been 13 teams in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 playoff deficit.

Realistically speaking, it looks unlikely that the Heat can be the 14th team to do so. The circumstances of no Jimmy Butler, no Rozier and even a hobbled Duncan Robinson essentially removed three key pieces to a rotation facing the top overall seed across both conferences.

Each game in this series has featured a double-digit loss. After losing by 20 points in both Game 1 and Game 3, the Heat fell by 14 points in Game 4 but were down by 28 at one point. Granted, they made a fourth-quarter run at it, but it was just too little, too late, which could be the story of Miami’s season.

The Celtics shot 42% from the field compared to the Heat’s 41%, but the real difference was the 3-point shooting. Boston had a 38% to 27% advantage from long range. The adjustment of increased shooting volume and efficiency that worked well in Miami’s Game 2 upset has not carried over. 

Kristaps Porzingis even went out with what appeared to be a non-contact calf injury early in the game, but the Heat had already dug themselves in a hole at that point. Derrick White proved to be No. 1 on the Mount Rushmore of Heat Killers once again, exploding offensively in a 38-point performance on 15 for 26 shooting and 8 for 15 from deep. 

Jayson Tatum put together a 20-and-11 double-double and Jaylen Brown added 17 points. With the Boston star duo combining for just 37 points in the game, it would seem like Miami would’ve been able to take care of business. But Boston got a boost from its supporting cast, primarily White, something that the Heat haven’t gotten in the last two games of the series.

Bam Adebayo’s 25-and-17 double-double on 50% shooting wasn’t enough. Tyler Herro dropped 19 points, five assists and five rebounds but his performance was mired by five turnovers. Caleb Martin finished with 18 points but started the game struggling. By the time he got into a rhythm, the game was already decided.

Miami had their chances but simply got beat. Now the Heat will have their backs completely against the wall in a hostile environment for a close-out game at TD Garden. Anything can happen in the NBA, but with the returns of Butler and Rozier not in sight, it seems like the Heat can’t match the talent of Boston.