The Miami Heat have never lost a seven-game series when they've won the first two games.(The Boston Celtics host the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Friday at 8:30 ET on ESPN.)
If history is any indication, then the Miami Heat will be in the NBA Finals for a second consecutive year.
Overall, teams that lead 2-0 in a best-of-seven series advance 94.3 percent of the time. Miami’s percentage in such scenarios is even greater. In franchise history, the Heat have never lost a seven-game series after winning the first two games (7-0).
As for the Boston Celtics, they have lost eight of nine best-of-seven series when losing the first two games. The only seven-game series they won after dropping the first two games was the 1969 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, Boston gets the next two games at home, where they are 6-1 this postseason. The Celtics have outscored their opponents by eight points per game at home, and, the Heat are averaging 91.0 points per game on the road this postseason -- almost a 10-point drop from what they are averaging at home (100.4).
Since losing back-to-back games against the Indiana Pacers in the conference quarterfinals, the Heat have won five straight games. And it’s how the Heat have come out of the locker room after halftime that has played a big part in their win streak.
Miami Heat in 3rd Quarter
During 5-Game Win Streak
In each of the last five games, the Heat have outscored their opponents by at least 10 points in the third quarter. In the first two games of the conference finals, Miami is +24 points in the third quarter, but has been outscored by six points the rest of the game.
As for LeBron James, he continues to put up big numbers. He’s had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the first two games of this series, and has five 30-10 games this postseason.
In his career, James has scored at least 35 points in four playoff games at the TD Garden. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most playoff games with at least 35 points for any player in that arena. Paul Pierce has scored at least 35 points in three playoff games at TD Garden.
However, much was made about the two go-ahead field goals James missed in the final 24 seconds of Game 2. James now has missed his last four game-tying or go-ahead field goals in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime of playoff games, dating back to his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James is 0-for-3 on such shots with the Heat, but 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) in his postseason career. Not only is that percentage better than his teammate Dwyane Wade (2-7, 28.6), it’s much higher than the league average (27.0) over the last 16 seasons.
-- Ernest Tolden and Alok Pattani contributed to this post.