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Rick Zamperin: Raptors will try to do what no NBA team has ever done

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry leads his team into Game 4 of NBA's Eastern Conference Semifinal versus the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry leads his team into Game 4 of NBA's Eastern Conference Semifinal versus the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

No NBA team has ever won a playoff series after losing their first three games.

It has happened 129 times, and not one team has managed to pull off a miracle comeback.

Only three teams in NBA history have even forced a Game 7 after going down 3-zip, the 1951 New York Knicks vs. Rochester Royals, the 1994 Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz, and the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks.

Among North America’s three major professional sports leagues that use a best-of-7 playoff series format (NBA, NHL, MLB) there have been only four teams to come back and win a series after losing the first three games.

They are the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, 2004 Boston Red Sox, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, and 2014 Los Angeles Kings.

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So, yes, the odds are certainly stacked against the Toronto Raptors, who find themselves down 3-love against the Cleveland Cavaliers entering Game 4 Monday night.

The Philadelphia 76’ers also find themselves in the same hole against the Boston Celtics.

Not only do the Raptors have no room for error, they’re also playing against the best player in the game in LeBron James.

When this series comes to an end for Toronto on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or even in Game 7 next Sunday (hey, a guy can dream, right?), the Raptors will look back and kick themselves for missing an opportunity to do something great.

READ MORE: Raptors vs. Cavaliers: Five keys to Eastern Conference semifinal series

Their loss in Game 1 was a huge letdown. That defeat impacted their play in Game 2, a blowout loss against the Cavs. Toronto showed a ton of spirit to rally and tie Game 3 late, but James showed us once again why he’s the greatest player in the league.

It doesn’t much matter if the Raptors avoid the sweep, they’re not going to make history, not against LeBron.

The 2017-18 Toronto Raptors will go down in history as a team that had a great regular season, and not much else.

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