Clippers, Rivers Make Wrong Kind of History

by Mark Everett Kelly | Sep 17, 2020 | NBA, NBA Basketball | 0 comments

Despite NBA experts extending an invitation to the Western Conference Finals after their marquis offseason signings of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers Clippers predictably failed in their 50th attempt. The much anticipated “Battle for LA” against their Staples Center’s co-inhabitants, will be put on hold for at least another year.

Most Seasons Played, Current Franchises
No Appearances in Conference Finals
Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles ClippersNBA50
Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats/HornetsNBA30
Columbus Blue JacketsNHL19
Houston TexansNFL19

The Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats/Hornets rank second to the Clippers playing 30 seasons without reaching the Conference Finals.


While blowing a 3-1 series lead to Denver adds to their latest franchise failure, Doc Rivers made history himself. Rivers stands alone as the only coach in pro sports history to lose three series when holding a 3-1 advantage.

Most Series Losses, Leading 3-1 in Best-of-7 series
Head Coaches in Pro Sports
Doc RiversNBA3>>2003 (ORL), 2015, 2020 (LAC)
Bryan MurrayNHL21987 (WSH), 1991 (DET)
Jim SchonfeldNHL21995 (WSH), 1999 (PHX)
Marc CrawfordNHL21998 (COL), 2003 (VAN)
Dan BylsmaNHL22011, 2014 (PIT)

The late Bryan Murray (died of cancer in 2017) is the only head coach in major pro sports history to lose and win multiple series trailing 3-1. Murray lost the 1987 Patrick Division Semis with the Capitals and 1991 Norris Division Semis with the Red Wings, then rallied both teams the following season (defeated the Flyers in 1988 with Washington & the North Stars in 1992 with Detroit) when trailing 3-1.


The Nuggets joined the 1985 Kansas City Royals and 2003 Minnesota Wild as the only teams to erase multiple 3-1 series deficits in a single playoff year. The Nuggets will try to equal the Royals in winning a title, while the Wild lost in the Conference Finals to Anaheim.

The 1985 Kansas City Royals overcame 3-1 series deficits in defeating the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals on their way to winning the World Series.

Rallied from Multiple 3-1 Series Deficits
Same Playoff Year
2020Denver NuggetsNBA???
2003Minnesota WildNHLLost Conference Finals
1985Kansas City RoyalsMLBWon World Series

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