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Broom in the closet

Sixers avoid infamy of back-to-back sweeps by Pacers

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Posted: Tuesday May 16, 2000 01:23 PM

  Allen Iverson helped the Sixers avoid the fifth sweep in franchise history. AP

By Ryan Hunt,

With one win, the Philadelphia 76ers avoided a place the NBA record books.

No team in NBA history has ever been swept in a best-of-seven series in back-to-back seasons by the same team. Philadelphia, which was swept by Indiana in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, lost the first three games of this year's series before winning Game 4.

In fact, the Sixers avoided joining the list of only five -- and only two in the past 48 years -- who have been eliminated in consecutive sweeps by the same team.

Chicago knocked out Cleveland 4-0 in 1993, then 3-0 in '94. The Bulls, however, were swept in a pair of best-of-five first-round series by Boston in both '86 and '87. The Indianapolis Olympians, Philadelphia Warriors and Chicago Stags were each blanked in best-of-three series era of the early '50s.

Brushed Aside
Teams that have been swept from
playoffs in consecutive seasons
Team  Years 
Los Angeles Lakers  1998,99 
Orlando Magic  1994,95,96 
Cleveland Cavaliers  1993,94 
Denver Nuggets  1989,90 
Chicago Bulls  1986,87 
New Jersey Nets  1985,86 
Milwaukee Bucks  1985,86 
New Jersey Nets  1982,83 
Houston Rockets  1979,80 
Indianapolis Olympians  1952,53 
Philadelphia Warriors  1949, 50,51 
Chicago Stags  1948,49,50 
Rochester Royals  1949,50 

But even getting swept two years in a row is a pretty rare occurrence. It has only happened 13 times since the NBA's formation in 1946-47.

Amazingly, the Shaquille O'Neal-led Lakers were the latest addition to the list, getting ousted in four by Utah ('98) and San Antonio ('99)

If Los Angeles somehow is swept in either the Western Conference finals or the NBA finals, they would be only the fourth franchise in history to be swept in three straight seasons.

Only the Orlando Magic -- in the Shaq era as well -- of 1994-96, the 1949-51 Philadelphia Warriors and the Chicago Stags from 1948-50 are the only teams to be ousted via the sweep in three straight seasons.

The Lakers, however, would be the first to suffer all three sweeps in best-of-seven series. The Warriors and Stags were eliminated in best-of-three series all three times, while one of Orlando's sweeps came in a best-of-five.

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