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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Number crunch: Two bad

By Chris Forsberg

The Boston Celtics trail the Miami Heat, 2-0, in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. What does history tell us about teams that find themselves in an early two-game hole? Here's the breakdown with help from ESPN researchers:

* In NBA history, a team that leads a best-of-seven series 2-0 goes on to win that series 94.1 percent of the time. Only 14 teams in NBA history have ever rallied from a two-game deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

* Zoom in on these two teams: The Heat are 5-0 all-time when leading a best-of-seven series 2-0; The Celtics are 1-7 all-time when trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. That lone rally came in the 1969 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers when Boston stormed back to win the series -- and the title -- in seven games.

* Will three days off help Boston? The Celtics typically play better when they have more days off, while Miami does not play as well. The Celtics were 6-0 with three or more days off during the regular season, but are just 1-1 in the postseason, losing Game 1 against the Heat after a long layoff.