Probability and statistics: Game 3


AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Paul Pierce pumps his fist after scoring a basket for Boston.Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't a fan of utilizing historical numbers to suggest future results, often noting that the current team had nothing to do with what happened in the past, but can affect the outcome of the current year. But since history tends to be a decent guide, we can't resist. So here's some facts and figures we've stumbled upon, with help from the wizards at ESPN Stats & Information, about Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals:

* The Celtics are 43-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead in a postseason series. The only loss was a first-round defeat at the hands of the Knicks in 1990 (a five-game series). The Celtics are 32-0 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.

* In NBA history, a team leading 2-0 in a best-of-seven series goes on to win that series 93.9 percent of the time (217-14).

* In NBA history, when the road team wins the first two games of a best-of-seven series, that team goes on to win that series 82.4 percent of the time.

* Orlando is the 18th team to lose Game 1 and Game 2 at home in a best-of-seven series. There is still hope for the Magic as three of the previous 17 teams have come back to win the series. The Warriors lost to the Lakers in the 1969 division semifinals; the Suns lost to the Rockets in the 1994 conference semifinals; and the Rockets lost to the Mavericks in the 2005 first round.

* The Magic are 0-5 all-time when trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series.

* No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game-series. There have been 93 occurrences of a team leading 3-0, and that team has won all 93 series. In fact, only three of those series have even been extended to a Game 7. In those instance, 57 series have been sweeps, 27 went to Game 5, and only six went as far as Game 6.

* If the Magic win Game 3 and cut their deficit to 2-1, their odds improve dramatically. Teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series still go onto win that series 82.1 percent of the time.