Last night, the Miami Heat rallied from an 11-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 119-114. That got me thinking: What was the greatest comeback in NBA postseason history?

I don’t have play-by-play data for games earlier than the 1997 NBA Playoffs, so I can’t necessarily find the largest deficit a team has overcome in a given game. However, I do have scoring by quarter for every playoff game in NBA history, so I used data from the 1980 NBA Playoffs — the first year the 3-point shot was used — through the 2022 NBA Playoffs* to build models to predict the home team’s win probability after each of the first three quarters.

** I omitted the 2020 NBA Playoffs when building these models, as there were no true home games in the Walt Disney World bubble.*

Here are the results of those models, where “homeDiff” stands for the home team’s point differential at the end of each quarter:

`z1 = 0.495935 + 0.107364 * homeDiff`

`z2 = 0.390267 + 0.145429 * homeDiff`

`z3 = 0.288885 + 0.212477 * homeDiff`

The logits (“*z*”) can then be used to estimate the home team win’s probability:

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