Numbers Don’t Lie, It’s a Must-Win For Milwaukee Tonight
Milwaukee Bucks lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The game was not pretty. Milwaukee looked awfully rusty. And Mike Budenholzer attempted to outwit the Brooklyn Nets and it blew up in his face. A part of me wanted to write a blog this morning explaining why it would not be a must-win tonight at the Barclays Center. But then I looked at the data, and the data does indicate that this is a must-win for Milwaukee. Going down 2-0 is not a death sentence, but you’re starting to wobble a bit to the point of no return. It would behoove Milwaukee to get off the mat and bring it tied up 1-1 headed back to Milwaukee.
Here are the facts that you will hear before the TNT broadcast tonight. Only 6.5% of teams that have been down 2-0 in a series have gone on to win the series. That number is very small. Now, we just saw it happen with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks yesterday. Clippers won that series in seven games after being down 2-0. But it’s the first time since the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals (Ugh.), that a team came back from a 2-0 deficit. It is rarer than you might think even if the prevailing thought is ‘The series doesn’t start until the road team wins.’
Add to the rarity of this accomplishment, the last time we saw it happen twice in one playoff year was in 2016. The Portland Trail Blazers came back from two down against the Clippers then the Cleveland Cavilers did it against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The only other years where we’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions – 2005, 1994, and 1993. It seems like we see maybe one a year, but two is far more out of the question. This is a wacky year in the NBA where anything could happen, but an 0-2 deficit against Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving seems like too much to handle.
For a little history lesson in non-bubble times, the 2001 Bucks also went down 1-0 then came back with a 14-point road victory against Philadelphia. Let’s hope the same thing happens tonight in BK.