DAR Sports: 10 Greatest NBA Playoff Teams

By @TrueGodImmortal 

As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors have a chance to making history and going 16-1 to win the NBA Title and likely taking their place as one of the greatest NBA playoff teams ever. If that happens, you can expect to see an article about their success next week on this site, but either way, what the Warriors did with 15 straight postseason wins is amazing. However, they followed the format and dominance that many other teams have utilized over the years. Today, we are here to take the 10 greatest playoff teams of all time. Let's get into it.

*1983 Philadelphia 76ers 

-The infamous Moses Malone declaration of "fo, fo, fo" lives on. Similar to the dominance of today, it seems as if the 76ers had a plan for a take takeover of the league. As the no. 1 seed during a different playoff format, the 76ers defeated the Knicks in 4 games, the Bucks in 5 games, and swept the Lakers in the Finals. They would stand as the most dominant playoff team until the Lakers in 2001. Moses Malone was a prophet.

*1986 Boston Celtics 

-The Celtics have had some great teams. However, when we look back at their best playoff runs, there's no denying that their best time came during the 1986 playoffs. After defeating the young Michael Jordan led Bulls in a sweep, they would defeat the Atlanta Hawks in 5 games, before sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Finals. With a shot at the NBA Title and redemption, the Celtics would defeat the Houston Rockets in 6 games to take the crown back. This was the best Celtics run in their NBA playoff history since the 60's.

*1987 Los Angeles Lakers 

-The Showtime Lakers have had many great runs in the NBA playoffs and this is probably their greatest. After missing the Finals the previous year, the Lakers came back with a vengeance to take out the Boston Celtics and get their crown back. After a quick sweep of the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers got pushed to 5 games by the Golden State Warriors, before sweeping the 7th seed Seattle Supersonics in the Conference Finals. The final Celtics vs Lakers NBA Finals matchup (for the next 21 years) would occur, and this time, the Lakers would snatch their crown back in 6 games over the Celtics.

*1989 Detroit Pistons 

-The Bad Boy Pistons should have had a three peat. However, the Showtime Lakers overcame the challenge the year before in 1988 to defeat them in a great 7 game series. So, imagine how great it must have felt for the Pistons to get the opportunity for true revenge in the 1989 playoffs. They wouldn't disappoint either, as both teams set the stage for an epic matchup and rematch. The Lakers, focused on gaining a three peat sweep through the first three rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Portland Trailblazers, the Seattle Supersonics, and the Phoenix Suns. The Pistons showed little signs of weakness themselves as well, as they swept through the first two rounds defeating the Celtics and the Bucks before creating the "Jordan Rule" to stop the Chicago Bulls in 6 games. The stage was set. The Pistons. The Lakers. Would the Lakers three peat or would the Pistons get revenge? The Pistons swept the Lakers and managed to start their own dynasty of sorts, making three straight NBA Finals and winning two titles.

*1991 Chicago Bulls 

-The Bulls Dynasty started here. With a magnificent and near flawless playoff run, Jordan, Pippen, and the rest of the Bulls fought through the playoffs for a near flawless record after a great regular season. The Bulls would end up sweeping the New York Knicks, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in 5 games, and sweeping their nemesis Detroit Pistons to advance to the Finals and face the remnants of the Showtime Lakers. The Bulls would defeat the Lakers in 5 games and take their place as one of the greatest playoff teams ever.

*1996 Chicago Bulls 

-The greatest team of all time also had one of the greatest playoff records on the road to winning three more titles. After a record setting 72-10 season, the Bulls walked into the playoffs hoping to acquire a championship and that would be the end result. On the road to capping off their great season, the Bulls would sweep the Miami Heat, beat the New York Knicks in 5 games, and sweep the Orlando Magic to advance against the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals. The Bulls took a 3-0 lead and nearly blew the lead by losing two straight, but closed out the Sonics in game 6 to win the title and cap off the historic season.

*1997 Chicago Bulls 

-One thing I'm proud of as a Bulls fan is the fact the Bulls were ridiculously dominant through their playoff runs. Their runs in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1997 are historic honestly, as no series went over 6 games through each of those runs. The Bulls would sweep the Washington Bullets in the first round, demolish the Atlanta Hawks in 5 games in the 2nd, and defeat the Miami Heat in 5 games in the 3rd round, before a 6 game victory over the Utah Jazz. After going 15-3 to win a title, following that up with a 69-13 regular season record and a 15-4 playoff record shows your dominance. The Bulls were just that.

*2001 Los Angeles Lakers 

-The greatest NBA playoff team ever is still the Los Angeles Lakers. The defending champions came into the season and struggled a bit throughout surprisingly. However, after a solid 56-26 season (that was 11 game lower than their previous record), the Lakers focused and got things together to make the greatest playoff run ever. They swept through the first three rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Portland Trailblazers, the Sacramento Kings, and the San Antonio Spurs before facing the Allen Iverson led 76ers in the Finals. Their undefeated streak stopped in game 1, as the 76ers took an OT victory, but the Lakers dominated the rest of the series, winning 4 straight to cap off the greatest playoff run we've seen so far.

*2007 San Antonio Spurs 

-The Spurs were a force to be reckoned with in the West through the 2000s, winning three titles during the decade. Their best playoff run comes in 2007, as they dominated the entire playoffs, not allowing any game go beyond 6 games, and only going to 5 games in 2 of their matchups, before a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The trio of Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli, and Tim Duncan proved to be too much for LeBron James and the Cavs to overcome. In their path, the Spurs took out the Denver Nuggets in 5 games, the Phoenix Suns in 6 games, and the Utah Jazz in 5 games before completing the sweep. This was as dominant of a playoff run as we've seen, minus a select few others on this list. The Spurs had their best postseason run this year and got a NBA Title in the process.

*2011 Dallas Mavericks 

-Sure, the record for this team isn't the great so to speak, but when you consider the team and who they had to get through to win their championship, this is one of the most impressive runs I've witnessed in the playoffs period. They didn't have the most stacked team, and honestly, there were teams that I expected to defeat them in the playoffs before the Finals, yet somehow the Mavericks rolled through the West before facing the juggernaut that was the superteam Miami Heat. They would defeat the younger Portland Trailblazers team in the first round in 6 games, then roll over the defending champions Lakers in a sweep, before disposing of a young Oklahoma City Thunder team in 5 games. They would be outmatched by the Miami Heat it seemed, but they pushed through and won in 6 games. The Mavericks aren't the absolute best, but of the last few seasons, they definitely have a claim to being the best playoff run. I thought of ending this list off with the 2015 Warriors, as they finished with a sweep, 6 game, 5 game, and 6 game win, but the Mavericks run was just slightly more impressive considering the teams they faced.



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