2001 Los Angeles Lakers vs. 2017 Golden State Warriors: Who was more impressive?

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In the 2001 NBA Playoffs, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant helped the Los Angeles Lakers win 11-straight games to reach the NBA Finals.

On Monday night, the Golden State Warriors, led by stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, earned their 12th-straight victory to open the postseason, sweeping the San Antonio Spurs to reach the title round for a third year in a row.

Because of the expansion of the first round from a best-of-five series to a best-of-seven, the Warriors now hold the record for the most playoff wins in a row to reach the Finals.

However, the two impressive runs of dominance came in different eras. While Shaq and the Lakers controlled the paint, Curry and the Warriors light up the scoreboard from beyond the three-point arc.

So, which team was more impressive while sweeping its way to the Finals? Here's a breakdown of how the two squads made their way to the title round.

Average margin of victory

The Lakers didn't give opponents a lot of hope back in 2001, with their average margin of victory standing at 15.5 points. Their closest game came in Game 1 of the conference semifinals, when they beat the Sacramento Kings 108-105.

Though the Warriors' closest game came in Game 1 of the conference finals against the Spurs when they only earned a 113-111 win, they've been more impressive overall.

En route to their third-straight Finals, the Warriors have amassed a 16.3-point margin of victory.

The Lakers went on to lose Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, though. The Warriors will try to avoid that same fate when they take on either the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers this June.

Quality of opponents

The 2001 Lakers had to make their way past the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs to reach the Finals, while the Warriors beat the Blazers, Utah Jazz and Spurs en route to this year's title round.

Though they had two common opponents in their playoff runs, the Lakers took on teams that finished a combined 163-83 in the regular season.

The Warriors, on the other hand, faced foes with a combined 153-93 regular-season record. Golden State also faced the weakest opponent of the two squads, as this year's Portland team only finished the year with a 41-41 mark.

The Lakers also hold the edge when it comes to their Finals opponent, too, as they faced a 56-26 76ers team. The Warriors will either take on the 53-29 Celtics or 51-31 Cavs.

Star power

The Warriors have the edge when it comes to total talent on the roster, with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all making this year's Western Conference All-Star team.

However, when it comes to a dynamic duo, Kobe averaged 28.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the 2000-01 season, while Shaq put up an incredible 28.7/12.7/3.7 stat line.

Curry and Durant, meanwhile, averaged 25.3/4.5/6.6 and 25.1/8.3/4.8 per night, respectively. They obviously had more help than Shaq and Kobe, as Thompson and Green played huge roles on a nightly basis for the Warriors.

The Lakers only had one other player average 10 or more points per game during the 00-01 season - Derek Fisher, who averaged 11.5 points a night while appearing in only 20 games because of a foot injury.

There's still one round to go for this year's Warriors, though, and if they don't match the 2001 Lakers with a championship ring, it won't matter how dominant they were through the first three rounds.

After setting a NBA record with a 73-9 regular season last year before falling in the Finals, that's a lesson Golden State knows all too well.

Shaquille O'Neal
Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division

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