Game 3 is often must-win

Memo to San Antonio and Dallas, Portland and Houston, Boston and Chicago, Orlando and Philadelphia, and Atlanta and Miami: If you plan on advancing to the semifinals, winning Game 3 of your tied series is No. 1 on your to-do list.

All time in NBA postseason play, a best-of-seven series has been tied after the first two games 161 times. The winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the series 76 percent of the time (122-39). The home team’s record in Game 3 with series tied 1-1 is 89-72 (.553).

There are two Game 3s tonight that fall into this category. The Bulls host the Celtics (8 p.m. ET, TNT) and the Spurs visit the Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). At home, the Bulls hold an all-time postseason record of 105-34 (.755) – first among existing NBA franchises. Dallas is 41-26 (.612) at home in the playoffs. San Antonio (59-81, .421) and Boston (100-144, .410) have the second and third, respectively, best road winning percentages in the playoffs.

– NBA News

Author: Inside Hoops has been a world leader in NBA basketball coverage for over 20 years. Read our blog, but also be sure to read our main website on