No NBA team has ever rallied from a 3-0 series deficit. Can the Timberwolves change that?

DALLAS — A year ago, Anthony Edwards sat silently at his locker after Minnesota went down 3-0 to Denver in the first-round series and stared into the mirror before eventually getting up and walking out without saying a word.

Two days later, he scored 34 points on the strength of five three-pointers to lead the Timberwolves to a Game 4 victory over the Nuggets.

The win, the only victory of last year’s playoffs for Minnesota, had meaning to Edwards.

“I don’t ever want to say I got swept in my career,” he said.

Mike Conley sat at his locker after Minnesota’s dramatic Game 7 victory in Denver in the Western Conference semifinals, and was asked, “What’s next?”

Conley secured his first career playoff sweep in Round 1 against Phoenix. He notched his first Game 7 victory in Denver. Surely, there was another box to check on the horizon.

The veteran point guard’s answer: “Win a conference finals game.”

Conley’s goals are certainly higher than that; the 36-year-old point guard yearns to win an NBA championship before he hangs up his sneakers. But it’s well documented by now that this is Conley’s second conference finals appearance – and first since 2013. And his team in 2013, the Memphis Grizzlies, was swept by San Antonio that season.

An identical exit would likely cut a little deeper 11 years later.

No NBA team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 series in 154 tries — and both the Wolves and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals find themselves in such a hole. So no, it’s not likely Minnesota will reel off four straight victories to reach the franchise’s first NBA Finals. Though, hey, who knows?

But just nabbing a win Tuesday in Game 4 would mean something. It would mean no sweep of Edwards. It would mean another small career achievement for Conley. It would also mean Minnesota gets to fight another day.

That’s the Wolves’ plan.

“I just told them to keep fighting. We fight. We’ve been fighting all series, and we’re not going to stop fighting,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “We’ll look at it, we’ll build it back up and we’ll be ready to go on Tuesday, and see what happens from there.”

It’s true, the Wolves have been resilient all year. Whenever a player went down, another stepped up. When a deficit grew, the Wolves responded and rallied.

Lest we forget the defending NBA champions led Minnesota by 20 points on their home court in the second half of a Game 7, and the Wolves still won.

Perhaps the team that has routinely set new franchise marks will achieve an NBA first, as well.

One thing is for sure: If the Wolves go down, it will be swinging.

“If (there’s) a team that can do it, I think it’s us. We’re built to do that,” Wolves forward Naz Reid said. “Everybody still got their heads up. You don’t want to go down 0-3, but it’s part of life. We’re not going to hang our head about it. We’re going to go out there and fix it.”

It’s worth a try.

Related Articles

“We ain’t got nothing else to do,” Edwards said. “We can’t do nothing but be positive at this point. We can’t be negative. Just try to get it one win at a time.”