NBA playoffs: Where is the Warriors' postseason run among the best all-time?

The Golden State Warriors couldn't quite achieve perfection in the postseason, as they dropped Game 4 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, but their playoff run was still spectacular, as they went 16-1 en route to their second title in three seasons.

With the talent on their roster, an impressive 67-15 regular season and the playoff run, there has been plenty of talk about whether the 2016-17 Warriors are the greatest team ever.

We're here to figure out where the Warriors' postseason performance stands among the best playoff runs. We eliminated teams that didn't play at least three series. It's impressive to win it all with only one loss, but only beating two teams to do doesn't really qualify as a run. And since it's difficult to compare different eras, I took note of the team's record, their point differential (net rating was not available for all years), Hall of Famers they beat along the way, and injuries to the opposition that help the eventual champions.

Here are the eight best postseason runs in NBA history, ranked in descending order: .

No. 8: 1999 San Antonio Spurs (15-2)

This was the lockout-shortened season when teams played only 50 regular-season games. They still had a full postseason, however, and the Spurs made things look easy en route to their first title. However, the Spurs were beneficiaries of a favorable path, including the eighth-seeded Knicks, who played without Patrick Ewing, in the Finals.

Series en route to title:

Timberwolves - 3-1

Lakers - 4-0

Trail Blazers - 4-0

Knicks - 4-1

Point differential: +7.2

HOF faced (4, including two shoo-ins):

Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett (soon to be); Lakers: Kobe Bryant (soon to be), Shaquille O'Neal; Trail Blazers: Arvydas Sabonis

Knicks: None

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Timberwolves: None; Lakers: Dennis Rodman (4/4); Trail Blazers: None; Knicks: Patrick Ewing (5/5)

No. 7: 1982 Los Angeles Lakers (12-2)

Between Magic Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, Bob McAdoo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they had a great mix of young and veteran stars, and as a result they didn't have much trouble in the playoffs. They didn't face the most daunting competition ever, but getting through the postseason with only two losses is still quite impressive.

Series en route to title:

Phoenix Suns -  4-0  

San Antonio Spurs - 4-0

Philadelphia 76ers -  4-2

Point differential: +6

HOFers faced (3):

Suns: Dennis Johnson; Spurs: George Gervin; 76ers: Julius Erving

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Suns: None; Spurs: None; Sixers: None

No. 6: 1991 Chicago Bulls (15-2)

The 1991 championship was the first of Michael Jordan's six and his easiest, as the Bulls dropped only two games during the run, finishing an 11.7-point differential. Along the way they finally conquered the Pistons, who had beaten them the previous two Eastern Conference finals, though that was due at least in part to Isiah Thomas not being at 100 percent.

Series en route to title:

Knicks - 3-0

76ers - 4-1

Pistons - 4-0

Lakers - 4-1

Point differential: +11.7

HOFers faced (7):

Knicks: Patrick Ewing; 76ers: Charles Barkley; Pistons: Joe Dumas, Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas; Lakers: Magic Johnson, James Worthy

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Knicks: None; 76ers: None; Pistons: None; Lakers: None

No. 5: 1989 Detroit Pistons (15-2)

The first of two straight titles, the Pistons easily took care of the competition in the '89 postseason, with their only two losses coming to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals. They faced a staggering nine Hall of Famers, but were also aided by avoiding Larry Bird in the first round, and not having to deal with Magic Johnson for the last two-plus games of the Finals.

Series en route to title:

Celtics - 3-0

Bucks - 4-0

Bulls - 4-2

Lakers - 4-0

Point differential: +7.7

HOFers faced (9):

Celtics: Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish; Bucks: None; Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen; Lakers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Celtics: Larry Bird (3/3); Bucks: None; Bulls: None; Lakers: Byron Scott (4/4), Magic Johnson (2/4) 

No. 4: 1983 Philadelphia 76ers  (12-1)

Thanks to the addition of Moses Malone from Houston to partner with Julius Erving, they were an a powerhouse, going 65-17 in the regular season and they continued that dominance into the playoffs. Most impressive was the light work they made of a stacked Lakers team in the Finals, winning by an average of 10 points during the sweep.

Series en route to title:

Knicks - 4-0

Bucks - 4-1

Lakers - 4-0

Point differential: +6.5

HOFers faced (6):

Knicks: Bernard King; Bucks: Bob Lanier; Lakers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Knicks: None; Bucks: Dave Cowens (5/5); Lakers: Bob McAdoo (2/4)

No. 3: 2001 Los Angeles Lakers (15-1)

The second of the Lakers' three-peat, this run was the most dominant run during the Shaq and Kobe era, and one of the most impressive in league history, with a 12.7 point differential. Like the Warriors this season, the Lakers entered the Finals undefeated and lost once in the championship series.

Series en route to title:

Trail Blazers - 3-0

Sacramento Kings - 4-0

San Antonio Spurs - 4-0

Philadelphia 76ers - 4-1

Point differential: +12.7

HOFers faced (6, including one shoo-in):

Trail Blazers: Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis; Kings: None; Spurs: Tim Duncan (soon to be), David Robinson; 76ers: Allen Iverson, Dikembe Mutombo

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Trail Blazers: None; Kings: None; Spurs: None; 76ers: None

No. 2: 1971 Milwaukee Bucks  (12-2)

Lead by league MVP and scoring champion Lew Alcindor (changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the day after the season ended) and point guard Oscar Robertson, this is the Bucks' league title. It was an impressive run through the postseason, facing multiple Hall of Fame players on each team they faced -- though the Lakers played their series minus Jerry West and Elgin Baylor -- while also putting up an NBA record for point differential during a postseason.

Series en route to title:

San Francisco Warriors: 4-1  

Los Angeles Lakers: 4-1

Washington Bullets: 4-0

Point differential: +14.5

HOFers faced (7):

Warriors: Jerry Lucas, Nate Thurmond; Lakers: Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich; Bullets: Gus Johnson, Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Warriors: None; Lakers: Jerry West (5/5), Elgin Baylor (5/5); Bullets: Gus Johnson (2/4)

No. 1: 2017 Golden State Warriors (16-1)

The Warriors set a postseason record by starting 15-0, had a playoff point differential of 13.5 and defeated one of the best players of all-time in LeBron James to reclaim the title. They greatly benefitted from Kawhi Leonard's injury (and Tony Parker not playing at all) in the Western Conference finals, and the number of Hall of Fame players they faced could go up depending on how some careers play out. Regardless, it was a dynamite run.

Series en route to title:

Trail Blazers - 4-0

Jazz - 4-0

Spurs - 4-0

Cavaliers - 4-1

Point differential: +13.5

HOFers faced (3 shoo-ins):

Trail Blazers: None; Jazz: None; Spurs: Pau Gasol (post-career), Manu Ginobili (post-career); Cavaliers: LeBron James (post-career)

Aided by injuries to key players (games missed):

Trail Blazers: None; Jazz: None; Spurs: Kawhi Leonard (3.5/4), Tony Parker (4/4); Cavaliers: None

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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