The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing in their second-straight NBA Finals. And while they had some trouble with the Golden State Warriors in the first two games, struggling was something new for the Cavs this postseason. Cleveland reached the Finals in dominating fashion: sweeping the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, then dispatching the Toronto Raptors in six games to with the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs have been the most dominant team in the NBA playoffs this year. And they take their place alongside other great squads, across sports, that tore through the playoffs.
Here are five of the best powerhouse postseason teams from the last 40 years.
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1976 Cincinnati Reds
The big red machine was one of the greatest baseball juggernauts of all time. Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose led this superteam — called the Big Red Machine — to a World Series title. They are the only MLB team (since postseason expansion in 1969) to go an entire playoffs undefeated. They swept the Phillies 3-0 in the NLCS and the Yankees 4-0 in the World Series, outscoring them 41-19 in those games.
Photo: Tony Triolo
1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
With the top two point scorers in NHL history in Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier both on their team, how could the Oilers not end up on this list? Edmonton went 16-2 in the playoffs, averaging 4.8 goals per game during the run. Gretzky and Messier combined for 77 points in 18 playoff games, with the offensive onslaught taking care of all challengers.
Photo: David E. Klutho
1989-1990 San Francisco 49ers
After a 14-2 regular season, San Francisco stomped all opponents on their way to winning the Super Bowl. Joe Montana threw 11 touchdown passes in three dominant playoff wins over the Vikings, Rams, and Broncos. With the deadly combination of Montana and Jerry Rice behind a stout defense, the 49ers outscored opponents 126-26 on their way to their fourth championship in nine seasons.
Photo: Heinz Kluetmeier
2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe and Shaq would get the middle jewel of their three-peat of NBA championships with an incredible playoff run. O’Neal averaged 30.4 points per game in the playoffs, with Bryant right behind him, putting up 29.4 points a game. The Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in the NBA Finals, with Shaq taking home his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP.
Photo: Robert Beck
2013 Minnesota Lynx
After a 26-8 regular season the Lynx had a perfect WNBA postseason. Minnesota swept Seattle and Phoenix to reach the finals against the Atlanta Dream. Maya Moore won WNBA Finals MVP in a 3-0 sweep. Moore averaged 20 points a game against Atlanta, and Rebekkah Brunson backing her up by averaging ten rebounds a game as Minnesota finished off a perfect 7-0 postseason.
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Five Most Dominant Playoff Teams