As the Denver Nuggets fall to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4, they find themselves in a very familiar position.
Trailing for 3-1 in a series for the third consecutive time this playoffs, do the Nuggets have any more magic left in them to complete another unlikely comeback and reach the NBA Finals?
With the Boston Celtics also trailing 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, our NBA.com staff discusses which team is more likely to make a comeback: Denver or Boston.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): The Celtics.
I know the Nuggets have already done it twice, but that makes me even more inclined to take Boston. At some point, that 3-1 magic has to run out, right?
But previous history aside, I still truly believe the Celtics are the better team in their series. They let their guard down after gaining big leads in Games 1 and 2, allowing the Heat to come back and take a 2-0 lead. If they just played four full quarters for the first two games, they could be up 3-1 just as easy as they're trailing 3-1.
Even if they didn't show it in Game 4, this team has the heart to come back from down 3-1. I trust that they'll play with a heightened sense of urgency now that their next loss knocks them out of the playoffs, and I believe we'll get the best version of Boston moving forward.
Who says they can't win two games in a row to force a Game 7 where anything can happen?
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): It's the Celtics. I say this fully knowing how capable the Nuggets are at coming back from being down 3-1 in a series but I think the Celtics are a better team with more weapons.
The Heat have certainly done a good job of game-planning for Boston so far in the series, but there are things the Celtics can do to get back in the series. Figuring out how to attack the zone sits at the top of that list, but they've also lost a lot of the 50/50 and hustle plays in the first four games. Those are adjustment just made off effort and if Boston can't get the effort plays down 3-1 then they'll be at home watching the rest of the playoffs like you and I quicker than they planned too.
I also think there's another level that guys like Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and even the returning Gordon Hayward can get to over a couple of games.
Do I think Boston can win this series? No, but I do think they have a better chance at forcing a Game 7 and winning it then the Nuggets do against the Lakers.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): I'm riding with the Nuggets.
First off, they are on a two-series win streak for 3-1 comebacks. Second, nobody predicted they would pull off the improbable comebacks against the Utah Jazz and the LA Clippers. So, in a similar situation, although the Lakers are a different team, what's to stop the Nuggets from pulling off another one and make more history?
I do believe they have a better chance at stunning the Lakers than the Celtics do of coming back against the Heat.
Denver was thoroughly outplayed in Game 1 and lost at the buzzer in Game 2. In the two games after, it's been 1-1. I know the same spin could be given to the Heat-Celtics series but I personally believe the Celtics' clutch play has cost them in each game. Other than Game 3, it's been blown leads in Games 1 and 2 and a comeback falling short in Game 4.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.