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Are the 0-1 Heat in a hole?

10/27/2010

It was just Game 1 of 82, but if you're a fan of historical trends, the Heat's opening night loss to the Celtics is not a good omen for this season.

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, there have been 34 NBA champions crowned, and only eight of those 34 teams (23.5 percent) lost their season openers. The 2009-10 Lakers weren't among those eight. Nor were the 2008-09 Lakers, or the 2007-08 Celtics. In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 Pistons to find a team that started the season 0-1 and finished it by hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy (or, as Wade calls it, "Mr. Larry").

Going from a loss to a championship has proven exceedingly difficult in recent seasons. The 2003-04 Pistons squad is the only team in the 2000s to do it. In their opening game, they lost to the Pacers -- the 61-21 team they ultimately defeated in the conference finals.

In the 90s, two teams started with a loss and ended with a banner: Michael Jordan's first and last title teams. The 1997-98 Bulls opened with a 7-point loss at Boston, then bounced back the very next night with a win over the 76ers. The Heat's next opponent? The 76ers.

And Miami's probably going to want to win that game, because it's been 20 years since a team started a season on a losing streak and recovered to win a championship. The 1991 Bulls -- Jordan's aforementioned first title team -- started 0-3 and were below .500 11 games into the season, but recovered to win 61 games and beat the Lakers in the Finals.

Teams to Win Championship After Starting 0-1, Since Merger