The Warriors Were Dominant. But How Dominant?

The Warriors Were Dominant. But How Dominant?


“I still feel that at full strength we can beat the Bucks,” Shue said.

The Bucks outscored the Bullets by a combined 49 points, which this year’s Warriors topped by outscoring the Cavaliers by 60. The top four is rounded out by the Boston Celtics, who swept by a margin of 41 points in 1959, and the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983, who had a 40-point differential.

The relative lack of sweeps in the N.B.A. — by contrast, baseball has endured 21 sweeps of the World Series, 13 of which came after the N.B.A. was formed — makes fairly easy work of trying to compare the sweeping teams. Adding to the simplicity is the fact that the only N.B.A. team to pull off a sweep twice is the Warriors, who swept the Washington Bullets in 1975 thanks to dominant play by Rick Barry.

This season’s Warriors, when compared with the other sweepers, are notable in several regards beyond the margin of victory:

■ The statistics of offensive rating, defensive rating and net rating — which measure a team based on its points, and points allowed, per 100 possessions, giving more context than just raw points — have been tracked far enough back to compare all of the sweeping teams since 1975. In that span, the Warriors’ offensive rating of 124.6 is the best, beating the 120.6 of the Detroit Pistons in 1989. The Warriors’ defensive rating of 111.6 is the second-worst, but thanks to all of their scoring, their net rating (the difference between the offense and defense) of 16.1 demolished the previous record of 10.1, which was set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002.



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