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NBA Finals Game 7: Historical storylines

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This is what they'll be playing for on Wednesday night.

There are so many storylines for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Let's take a look at the ones that relate to the history of Game 7s in this round.

Home-Court Advantage

The last team to win Game 7 of an NBA Finals on the road was the 1978 Washington Bullets, who upset the Seattle SuperSonics in Seattle, 105-99. Six Bullets scored in double figures that game, which may best be remembered for the shooting struggles of future Hall-of-Famer Dennis Johnson, who went 0-for-14 from the field.

There have been five Game 7s since, four of which came after the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985. Each of the previous five was won by the home team, but was reasonably close. The average margin of victory of those five games was six points.

In the last 30 postseasons, home teams are a combined 17-2 in Game 7s in the Conference Finals and NBA Finals.

The two losses were by the Sacramento Kings against the Lakers in the 2002 Western Conference Finals and the Pistons against the Heat in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals.

The NBA has the longest drought among the three major sports for a Game 7 winner, but only by one year. There hasn't been a Game 7 of the World Series won by the road team since the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1979.

Come So Close in Game 6, what happens in Game 7?

Best Game 7s by Player

Seven teams have had a chance to clinch an NBA title and lost a Game 6 by one to three points.

There is precedent for those teams both to win and to lose.

Of the previous six instances, four have won-- the 1954 Los Angeles Lakers, 1957 Boston Celtics, 1960 Celtics, and 1974 Celtics.

The 1974 Celtics share the distinction with the Spurs of being the only ones to lose in overtime (on a sky hook by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Bucks with two seconds left). Those Celtics bounced back to win Game 7 handily, but unlike the Spurs, they had the advantage of being at home.

The two most recent cases both lost.

The 1988 Detroit Pistons lost a heartbreaker to the Lakers in Game 6, then lost another very close game in Game 7 in Los Angeles.

And the 1994 New York Knicks had their Game 6 hopes of victory end in the same way the Spurs’ did, with a 3-pointer blocked (in this case, John Starks by Hakeem Olajuwon) at the buzzer.

That shot (which would have been a title-winner if made) was the Knicks' best shot. They lost to the Rockets in Game 7, 90-84.

LeBron and Duncan in Game 7s

LeBron James is 2-2 all-time in Game 7s, with wins in his last two. In those four games, he’s averaging 33.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, almost a match for his numbers in his last Game 7 (32 points, 8 rebounds)-- the win over the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tim Duncan is 2-1 in Game 7s, including a win in Game 7 of the 2005 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. Duncan had 25 points and 11 rebounds in that game en route to winning the NBA Finals MVP.

Duncan and James share the common bond of having their highest-scoring Game 7 in a loss. Duncan scored 41 in a Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2006. James scored 45 in an Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Celtics in 2008.

The Experience

The Heat have been through the Game 7 rigors quite a bit (including the once previously this season). Their roster has a combined 48 games worth of Game 7 experience (in any series), though only one player (Ray Allen) has been in an NBA Finals Game 7 (2010 with the Celtics).

The Spurs have three players with NBA Finals Game 7 experience-- their Big 3 of Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Their roster in total has a combined 14 games of Game 7 experience.