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NBA Playoffs History: 5 Greatest postseason runs of all time

NBA Finals
NBA Finals
Punit Pathak
Modified 01 Apr 2020, 17:29 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

To determine the league's champion, best-of-seven elimination rounds are held after the NBA regular season, which we know as the postseason or playoffs. The top eight teams qualify from the Eastern and Western Conference to compete for the NBA Championship.

The postseason includes a first round matchup (quarterfinals) from which the team advances to the second round (semifinals). Two winners advance to the third round (Conference Finals). The winner from each conference advances to the NBA Finals.

In the following presentation, we will take a look at the five teams which had the greatest postseason runs of all time. This list is based on games won by the franchise and the dominance of the teams through each round.

Do note that till 2003, NBA franchises played a best of 5 series in the first round and could only win up to 15 games in the postseason.

#5 Detroit Pistons - 1989 NBA Playoffs (15-2 postseason)

1988-89 Pistons
1988-89 Pistons

The Detroit Pistons were nicknamed 'the Bad Boys' for their aggressive plays. They were one of the toughest teams in the NBA, consisting of Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, and Joe Dumars. The Pistons had one of the most dominant playoffs runs in NBA history, with a record of 15 wins and only 2 losses.

Pistons finished number one in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 63-19. In the first round, they faced the Boston Celtics and defeated them in the best of five series with a 3-0 sweep.

Detroit carried the momentum and cruised past Milwaukee, winning the Conference Semis 4-0. In the Conference Finals, Pistons faced the high flying Bulls, led by Michael Jordan (appearing first time in the Conference Finals) and beat them 4-2 (their only losses were against the Chicago Bulls).


The Finals series was a rematch of the previous year's championship round between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers won all their postseason matches with 11 wins and were hoping to secure their three-peat.

The Bad Boys won the series in a four-game sweep and took their revenge for last year's loss. Joe Dumars' impressive performance won him the Finals MVP.

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Published 16 Jul 2019, 10:17 IST
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