A look at the history of NBA teams which overcame a 3-1 series deficit

With a comeback win in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals Saturday, the Golden State Warriors have guaranteed at least one more game in their season.

While the team once trailed 3-1 in the series, the tide has turned and the Warriors will have a chance Monday to become the 10th in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. The Warriors would also be the third team to accomplish the feat in a conference finals series.

With the final game of a very entertaining series looming, I decided to look back on the nine teams who have accomplished what the Warriors will look to do and see how they did during the rest of the playoffs.

1968 Boston Celtics

The Celtics became the first team to overcome the 3-1 deficit when they triumphed over the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals. The 76ers were the defending champions in 1968, but the legendary trio of Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Sam Jones led the way to a historic comeback.

The Celtics would then beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals to capture their tenth championship in 12 seasons.

1970 Los Angeles Lakers

The Phoenix Suns finished the regular season below .500 in 1970, but still found themselves with a 3-1 series lead against the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Lakers would overcome and ride the momentum to a sweep of the Hawks to capture a third straight conference title. The Lakers would lose in the NBA Finals, falling to the New York Knicks in seven games.

1979 Washington Wizards

The Wizards, led by Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes, were the next team to advance after facing a 3-1 series deficit when they played the San Antonio Spurs in the conference finals.

The Wizards would lose to the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals in five games and have not returned to the NBA Finals since.

1981 Boston Celtics

Two years later, the Celtics became the first of two NBA franchises to overcome a 3-1 deficit on two separate occasions.

Once again it would be the 76ers who would lose the series and once again it would come in the conference finals.

The Celtics would go on to beat the Houston Rockets in six games to capture the 14th championship in franchise history.

1995 Houston Rockets

The sixth-seeded Rockets finished 12 games behind the Suns in the 1995 season, but it didn’t stop them from overcoming a 3-1 deficit against them in the playoffs.

The Rockets would go on to sweep the Orlando Magic in the finals to win their second straight championship. The Rockets remain the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the championship.

1997 Miami Heat

The Heat came back to beat the Knicks in the conference semifinals. However, the Heat would then lose in the Eastern Conference finals to the Chicago Bulls in five games.

2003 Detroit Pistons

The top-seeded Pistons found themselves trailing 3-1 to the Magic in the first round, but were able to come back and advance.

The Pistons would make it to the conference finals before they were swept by the New Jersey Nets.

2006 Phoenix Suns

The Suns would also find themselves facing a 3-1 deficit in the first round before beating the Lakers to advance.

The Suns would beat the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games during the following round before falling to the Mavericks in the conference finals.

2015 Houston Rockets

The most recent team to join the 3-1 comeback club was the Rockets during last season’s playoffs. The Rockets would triumph over the Clippers in seven games before dropping to the Warriors in five during the conference finals.

The Warriors will have their chance to join this list when Game 7 of the Western Conference finals tips-off Monday at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on TNT.

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