Warriors join 2003 Pistons in record books following unlikely 3-1 recovery

We’ve been there.

Following their 96-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, the Golden State Warriors became just the 10th team in NBA history to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit.

The last Eastern Conference team to pull off the feat? The 2002-03 Detroit Pistons.

Like the Warriors, the 2003 Pistons entered the postseason as a No. 1 seed. Unlike the Warriors, the Pistons won 23 fewer games in the regular season and found themselves on the brink of elimination in the first round against the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic.

“It feels good to get into the second round,” Magic forward Tracy McGrady infamously quipped following his team’s Game 4 victory, one that pushed the Magic to a 3-1 advantage but did not yet ensure a series victory.

The Pistons, of course, stormed back, utilizing the then-little known Tayshaun Prince to slow down McGrady before cruising to a 108-93 blowout victory in Game 7 at The Palace.

Since Detroit’s romp in 2003, only two other teams had completed the 3-1 comeback prior to the Warriors’ Memorial Day victory: the 2006 Suns (bouncing back to eliminate the Lakers in ’06) and the Houston Rockets when they overtook the Clippers in a series semi-commonly referenced as the time Josh Smith played like Josh Smith thinks Josh Smith always plays.

Of course, if the Thunder had somehow managed to fight off history and squeak one out in Oakland last night, the Pistons still would have been a part of the conversation, since no conference finalist had won Game 7 on the road since the Pistons went into Miami and dispatched Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal in 2005.