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Warriors are 3rd team in modern era to go undefeated heading into the NBA Finals

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The Warriors are 12-0 heading in the NBA Finals.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With a 129-115 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, the Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season. They did so undefeated, joining only two teams in NBA history to go unscathed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Only the 1988-89 and 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers have ever went their first, second, and third playoff rounds without a loss.

The ‘89 Lakers, which featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, and Byron Scott, went on to get swept by the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. The ‘01 Lakers, notably powered by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, went on to three-peat, capturing their second straight championship that season in a 4-1 series victory over Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers.

This Warriors team could be better than its predecessors. One season after posting a 73-9 record good for the best in NBA history, Golden State added ex-league MVP and four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. The move sent quakes throughout the league, solidifying a lineup that already featured a two-time MVP in Stephen Curry, a deadeye shooter and lockdown defender in Klay Thompson, and one of the most versatile two-way players in history in Draymond Green.

The result was predictable.

The Warriors snoozed through the regular season, grabbing the West’s No. 1 seed along the way, and blasted past playoff opponents to beat the Cavaliers in a race to the Finals. Golden State trashed the Trail Blazers without Durant for half of the series, then swept through a promising Jazz team before laying waste to a battered Spurs team in the conference Finals.

The ‘89 Lakers showed, though, that a perfect conference playoff run doesn’t ensure a championship. Magic and Kareem got whooped by Isaiah Thomas and company in the Finals right after sweeping through the first three rounds.

Nothing is given in the NBA, especially not against LeBron James. So even though the Warriors have had a relatively easy path to the championship, they had better bring it in the Finals if they hope to finish the deal.