Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Each year, the NBA Finals is meant to feature a showdown between two titans. Juggernauts of each conference who have run the gauntlet to get to the ultimate seven-game series showdown.

But unfortunately for entertainment value, the teams that make it to the finals aren’t always evenly matched. In order to quantify the most lopsided NBA Finals matchups in league history, PointAfter found every series in history that ended in a sweep or was over in five games. Opponents winning fewer games isn’t the end-all, but teams that couldn’t get a single win were clearly overmatched by their adversaries.

From there, we calculated the average margin of victory for the winning teams. The larger the margin, the more lopsided the matchup.

#24. 1956: Philadelphia Warriors over Fort Wayne Pistons

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 5.25 points

If not for the 4-1 series margin, this matchup actually could be viewed as one of the closer NBA Finals in history. Fort Wayne only lost those four games by 21 points total, but the Pistons were only able to win Game 2 by a final score of 84-83 thanks to a 30-point outburst from George Yardley. In this matchup of offense against defense, offense prevailed.

#23. 1973: New York Knicks over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 5.5 points

Even though the Lakers actually had a better record than the Knicks at season’s end, LA was only able to take one game against Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley and Co.

Gail Goodrich was in his prime at the time for the Lakers, but relying on 34-year-old Jerry West and 36-year-old Wilt Chamberlain didn’t result in rings at season’s end.

#22. 1975: Golden State Warriors over Washington Bullets

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 4 points

The 1975 NBA Finals ended in a swift sweep, but the Bullets only wound up losing by an average of four points per contest. They lost Games 2 and 4 by just a single point. Ultimately, however, Rick Barry (Golden State’s alpha dog) was too much for Washington to handle.

#21. 1979: Seattle SuperSonics over Washington Bullets

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 6.5 points

The Bullets snuck away with a two-point victory in Game 1 of the 1979 NBA Finals, but lost four straight after the fact (including two 10-point losses in Games 2 and 3).

Seattle’s one-two punch of Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson outplayed Washington’s tandem of Bob Dandridge and Elvin Hayes.

#20. 1990: Detroit Pistons over Portland Trail Blazers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 6.5 points

The 1990 Trail Blazers had three players average at least 19 points throughout the Finals — Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter. But while those three poured in the points, it wasn’t enough to overcome Isiah Thomas and the “Bad Boys” Pistons.

Thomas was phenomenal in the series, averaging 27.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals. He also made 54.2 percent of his field goals and a ridiculously efficient 68.8 percent of his three-pointers (11-of-16).

#19. 1953: Minneapolis Lakers over New York Knicks

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 6.5 points

By today’s standards, the 1953 NBA Finals would have been painful to watch. The three top scorers in the series — George Mikan (Lakers), Carl Braun (Knicks) and Connie Simmons (Knicks) — shot a combined 31.8 percent from the field.

It was a different era, to be sure, but watching the top players miss 70 percent of their shots would enrage fans today.

#18. 2012: Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 7.75 points

Both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook competed admirably in the 2012 NBA Finals, but both were wildly inexperienced at just 23 years old. Add in a 22-year-old James Harden — who shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc in the series — and it becomes abundantly clear that OKC was simply too young and naive to compete against the veteran Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

#17. 2007: San Antonio Spurs over Cleveland Cavaliers

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 6 points

Unlike when LeBron James was on the winning side of a lopsided NBA Finals against a young and inexperienced Thunder team, the 2007 outcome featured James on the opposite end of the spectrum.

With a supporting cast that included a 25-year-old Drew Gooden, 20-year-old Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and 23-year-old Sasha Pavlovic, James never had a shot against San Antonio’s veterans. It resulted in a four-game sweep, but only by an average of six points per contest.

#16. 1999: San Antonio Spurs over New York Knicks*

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 8.25

The Knicks truly shot themselves in the proverbial foot during the 1999 NBA Finals by shooting a putrid 39.2 percent from the floor. Even worse, New York’s crew converted just 11 of 54 three-pointers (20.4 percent).

Of course, it’s somewhat remarkable that the Knicks made it as far as they did. They entered the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, upset the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round and lost Patrick Ewing to injury in the postseason.

*Note: The 1998-99 season was shortened by a lockout.

#15. 1989: Detroit Pistons over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 6.5 points

In case you needed more confirmation that the “Bad Boys” Pistons of the late ’80s and early ’90s were no joke, the first of their back-to-back championships is also represented on the right side of a dominant series.

The first time around, it was Joe Dumars leading the way. He averaged 27.3 points, 6.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game and managed to get to the free throw line 38 times.

#14. 1995: Houston Rockets over Orlando Magic

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 7 points

Orlando was a far better regular season team when compared to Houston back in 1994-95. It won 10 more games throughout the 82-game grind by comparison, but the final showdown between Hakeem Olajuwon and a young Shaquille O’Neal favored the veteran. Shaq went on to collect quite a few rings, but Magic fans didn’t gain the fruits of that labor.

#13. 2001: Los Angeles Lakers over Philadelphia 76ers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 10 points

It’s truly a testament to how stupefyingly great Allen Iverson is that this Finals matchup isn’t higher on the list. The 2001 Lakers roster featured Shaquille O’Neal at his peak, Kobe Bryant as a hungry youngster and a hearty cast of veterans (Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Horace Grant).

Philly actually managed to take Game 1 of the series thanks to a 48-point performance from “The Answer.” He got those 48 points by taking 41 shots, which I’d be happy to criticize if his supporting cast didn’t feature Tyrone Hill and Jumaine Jones.

#12. 1972: Los Angeles Lakers over New York Knicks

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 11 points

It turns out the 1973 Knicks got redemption from an NBA Finals letdown the season prior. In 1972, the Lakers led by the same trio of Goodrich, West and Chamberlain won the last four games of the series after getting pummeled 114-92 in Game 1.

In the series, the usually splendid West shot an ugly 32.5 percent from the field. For a guy who reached the big stage quite a bit, it’s funny that his lone title stems from an ugly performance.

#11. 1964: Boston Celtics over San Francisco Warriors

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 11 points

The matchups between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain are the stuff of legend. Two giants of game (literally and figuratively) who challenged each other to take their game to another level.

Russell usually got the better of Wilt, though. And in this series, that meant relatively easy wins.

#10. 2004: Detroit Pistons over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 12.25 points

At least on paper, it appeared as if the Lakers were poised to win another championship matching up against Detroit. The Pistons had the No. 2 defense in the league during the regular season, but ranked No. 18 in offense. LA was arguably more well-rounded, ranking No. 8 and No. 6, respectively, in those categories.

But the Pistons defense really clamped down in the NBA Finals. The Lakers only scored more than 90 points once the entire series (in their 99-91 Game 2 win). Aside from that, Detroit suffocated the offensive life out of a formidable Lakers squad.

#9. 1991: Chicago Bulls over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 12.75 points

Interestingly, this is the only Michael Jordan-led team to make the list. “His Airness” won six titles, but he usually had to do battle against formidable foes.

The Lakers still had Magic Johnson and James Worthy at this time, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired and the combo of MJ and Scottie Pippen was just too much to overcome. Jordan averaged 31.2 points and 11.4 assists in the series.

#8. 2009: Los Angeles Lakers over Orlando Magic

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 12.75 points

You’re not going to go up against peak Kobe and a rock-solid wingman in Pau Gasol and win without some tricks up your sleeve. Orlando had a potential Kryptonite via the three-point shooting it utilized throughout the regular season around Dwight Howard, but it didn’t show up on the big stage.

The Magic made just 33 percent of their three-point attempts. Ultimately, that tepid shooting stifled the team’s chances at an upset.

#7. 2002: Los Angeles Lakers over New Jersey Nets

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 9.25 points

When you think “lopsided NBA Finals,” this is likely one of the first that comes to mind. The Nets had point guard Jason Kidd running the show at the peak of his powers, but New Jersey had no answer for Shaq Diesel.

“The Big Aristotle” averaged 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 blocks per game in the series. He even made a decent 66.2 percent of his free throws. New Jersey kept games somewhat close (really only getting blown out once), but this matchup was doomed from the start.

#6. 1983: Philadelphia 76ers over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 10 points

The 1983 Finals boasted a plethora of big names including Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving and others, but that didn’t make for a hotly contested back-and-forth affair.

Instead, Philly swept the Lakers soundly thanks to Malone’s play on the interior. He averaged 18 rebounds per game, which was more than double Kareem’s number (7.5).

#5. 1959: Boston Celtics over Minneapolis Lakers

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 10.25 points

Minneapolis threw the kitchen sink at Boston in this NBA Finals matchup — six different players averaged double-digit points — but that still wasn’t enough to avoid a double-digit margin of victory in the sweep.

If that doesn’t show that the Lakers were overmatched, I’m not sure what does.

#4. 1961: Boston Celtics over St. Louis Hawks

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 16.5 points

Even with the Hall-of-Fame tandem of Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan stuffing the stat sheet, St. Louis wasn’t able to put up much of a fight against the mighty Celtics.

In fact, the rebounding output of Pettit and Hagan combined (28.2 per game) couldn’t even match that of NBA legend Bill Russell (28.8 boards per contest).

#3. 2014: San Antonio Spurs over Miami Heat

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 18 points

Nobody was going to stop the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs. After a tough seven-game test against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, the Spurs stormed through the rest of the postseason.

After losing Game 1 by 15 points, Miami took Game 2 by a two-point margin. From there, San Antonio won three straight by a combined 57 points.

#2. 1965: Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers

Series Score: 4-1

Average Margin of Victory: 21 points

The 1964-65 Celtics don’t take the top spot on our countdown because the Lakers were able to notch a victory in the series. But good grief, a 21-point average margin of victory is absurd.

Led by an absolutely dominant Sam Jones (27.8 points per game on 47 percent shooting), Boston blew LA out of the water — particularly in a 32-point Game 1 win. Interestingly, the one game the Celtics lost (Game 3) was by an ugly 21-point margin. Jerry West did all he could for the Lakers (33.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game), but LA was completely overmatched.

#1. 1971: Milwaukee Bucks over Baltimore Bullets

Series Score: 4-0

Average Margin of Victory: 12.25

Let’s just say the Bullets franchise boasts a rough history. The organization has reached the NBA Finals four times, but three of those appearances resulted in lopsided losses.

The most demoralizing was a clean sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (27 points per game), Oscar Robertson (23.5 points) and Bob Dandridge (20.3 points), Milwaukee had the top three scorers in the series. Baltimore was completely overmatched. The closest it came in the four losses was an eight-point defeat in Game 3.

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