Tonight in Oakland, the Golden St. Warriors have a chance to win their 2nd NBA Championship in the last 3 years. Many people have been debating where this team ranks, not just in NBA history, but overall in the four major sports.
Approaching this topic with as much honesty as I can, I think that many fans and critics hold last years collapse in the NBA Finals against these same Cavaliers, against the Warriors. After winning an NBA record 73 games in 2015-16, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, losing 2 of those final 3 games at home, including Game 7.
In the offseason the Warriors added superstar Kevin Durant to their already historic lineup. While the Warriors did not equal the regular season success this season that they had last season, they have dominated opponents in the postseason. Entering Game 5 tonight they have outscored opponents by 13.8 PPG. They set a record for the four major sports with a 15-game postseason win streak. They are one win away from dethroning the defending champs with one of the greatest players in the history of the game who has appeared in each of the last seven NBA Finals.
So…Where does this team rank?
In NBA history, its hard to say that they haven’t been the most impressive. Entering Game 4 they were outscoring opponents by an average of 16.2 PPG, which was the highest in the history of the NBA Playoffs. However, their 21-point loss in Game 4 dropped that total a bit.
Best PPG Diff in Single Postseason
1955–56 Lakers +15.5 1970–71 Bucks +14.5 2016–17 Warriors +13.8>> 2000–01 Lakers +12.8 1990–91 Bulls +11.7 >>Was 16.2 PPG Entering Game 4
Matching them up against other teams in NBA history and the four major sports based on their postseason success, it’s hard not to put them at the top of that list. The 2001 LA Lakers (15-1) and the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers (12-1) are the only teams in NBA history to lose 1 game in winning the NBA title.
Among the other major sports, the Warriors rank among the best also. In MLB, only the 2005 White Sox (11-1) and 1999 Yankees (11-1), under the current format, lost 1 or fewer postseason games. Going back to when the MLB playoffs started in 1969, only the 1976 Cincinnati Reds (7-0) finished a postseason with a perfect record.
In the NHL, the 1968 and 1976 Montreal Canadiens (both 12-1) are the only teams to win a Stanley Cup (since expansion) with 1 or fewer losses. The 1988 Edmonton Oilers (16-2), under the current playoff format, had the most dominant run.
In the NFL the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to finish a season undefeated. It’s hard to enter any of the other teams that lost just one game in route to winning the Super Bowl (1976 Raiders, 1984 49ers, 1985 Bears), when you had an undefeated team.
Longest Postseason Win Streak By League – 4 Major Pro Sports
League 2017 Warriors<< 15 NBA 1992-93 Penguins 14 NHL 1927-32, 1998-99 Yankees 12 MLB 2002-06 Patriots 10 NFL >>Active streak >>>Source: Elias Sports Bureau
When looking at the fewest games lost, one isn’t even necessarily looking at domination as far as PPG or run differential, but then we need to break this open even further. However, even looking at that, this Warriors team excels in both of those categories. If they can wrap up the NBA Finals tonight, that makes them a great argument for the best team in history of the four major sports.