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The 15 Worst Playoff Collapses In NBA History

By 05.13.14

Paul Pierce

Why do we watch? If the NBA were predictable, it would simply be boring. Yet, as we all know just from this postseason alone, expect the unexpected. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards each blew double-digit second-half leads to their opponents this weekend, allowing the Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana Pacers to either tie the series or take a commanding series lead.

In addition to Sunday’s dramatic games, we take a look back at the other worst playoff collapses in league history. This is why we watch:

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15. 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 3
The Pistons and Bulls rekindled their rivalry from the 1990s, and it was Detroit that proved too much for Chicago this series. After taking a 2-0 lead, the Pistons found themselves on the verge of dropping their first game. They were down 19 points in the second half but clawed their way back and outscored the Bulls 53-30 in the final 24 minutes to take a dominate 3-0 lead. Tayshaun Prince finished with the double-double, scoring 23 points and adding 11 rebounds.

14. 2011 Western Conference First Round, Game 4
If this were deeper into the playoffs (and had more significance), it may have placed higher on the list. Nonetheless, Brandon Roy propelled the Blazers to one of the most memorable comebacks in recent memory against the Mavericks. Down by 23 points in the final quarter, Portland willed their way back and defeated Dallas, 84-82, to tie the series 2-2. Roy scored 18 points in the last 12 minutes to lead the assault, while his team held the Mavs to 15 points.

We miss B-Roy.

13. 1986 Eastern Conference First Round, Game 1
The Bullets came into the postseason with a 39-43 record and trailed the three-seed 76ers by 17 points with just three minutes and 49 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the first round. Remarkably, Washington went on an 18-0 run to win the game, 95-94, capped off by a Dudley Bradley buzzer-beating three-pointer.


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