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Top 10 Longest NBA Win Streaks


Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Whether positive or negative, it is common for NBA fans to talk about streaks, both at the group and individual levels. Today, we will specifically look at the longest NBA win streaks by NBA teams. This section will find elite teams such as the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, 2012-2013 Miami Heat, and 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. Let us begin.


On January 9th, 1972, Kareem Abdul Jabbar's Milwaukee Bucks - who finished the game with 39 points and 20 rebounds - ended the Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak that had begun over two months earlier, on November 5th, 1971.


Seventy days of unbeaten play and 33 consecutive wins, the team with the longest NBA win streak are the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Approximately fifty years later, the record still stands. However, over the years, some teams have come close to beating the Lakers' win streak. Let's find out about the ten longest NBA win streaks ever.

 

Table of Content:

 

Los Angeles Lakers - 33 Game Win Streak

33 consecutive victories, the longest NBA win streak, and a record that has remained undefeated for 45 years, and who knows how long it will remain... so. What can you expect from a roster that features Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor?


This was the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers with whom Jerry West won his only NBA title, the Lakers who finished the year 69-13 and won their first title since their move to the Californian coast. An NBA title is always good, but it's perhaps more interesting to remember the 1971-72 Lakers for setting the record for the longest win streak in NBA history.


There is no team in the history of the Association that has won so many games in a row. With Bill Sharman as a coach, the franchise was led by Wilt Chamberlain (in his penultimate NBA season), Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Pat Riley, among others.


The win streak started on November 5th, 1971, in the tenth game of the season, against the Baltimore Bullets. From then on, they swept through the next thirty-two games like it was nothing. The closest they were from losing was on December, 10th 1971 when they went into OT against Phoenix Suns. The last game they won was against the Atlanta Hawks 134-90.


Sadly, all good things must come to an end. On January 9th, 1972, the Milwaukee Bucks ended the Los Angeles Lakers' win streak. This was due to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's legendary 20/20+ stat line. Kareem put up:


39 Points, 20 Rebounds, 5 Assists

18/24 FG, 3/5 FT

47 Minutes


Even though they would lose their thirty-three-game winning streak, the Los Angeles Lakers would end the season with a Championship. Also, they still have the longest NBA win streak fifty years later, so who cares.


Golden State Warriors - 28 Game Win Streak

The second-longest NBA win streak belongs to the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. In the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors Big 3, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green broke more than 25 NBA RECORDS! The most important of these being the number of wins in a regular season, 73-9; one more than the legendary 1995-95 Chicago Bulls.

Another record they almost broke? The number of games won in a row. The Golden State Warriors got to December 11th, 2015 with a record of 24-0. During that win streak, Stephen Curry seemed like he came from another planet. Within those 24 games, he only scored less than 20 points in two games. Even then, in those two games, he was one point shy of 20!

  • November 22nd, 2015 (against Denver Nuggets): 19 Points

  • November 28th, 2015 (against Sacramento Kings): 19 Points

Like the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors lost their first game of the season on December 12, 2015, against the Milwaukee Bucks.


Starting the season with 24 wins is, by the way, the best start to a season in all major American sports.


Now, you might be thinking? They won 24 games in a row, but the title says 28. If you factor in their previous regular season, they also won their last four games. Taking those games into account, you get a total of 28 games won in a row!


In Game 79-82 of the 2014-15 regular season, the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, and Denver Nuggets for four wins. By the start of the next season, they continued that streak and kept it alive until Game 24 of the 2015-2016 season.


The closest the Warriors came to losing their record was on December 11th, 2015, in a game against the Boston Celtics. Interestingly, this happened to be the game before they lost against the Milwaukee Bucks. Without Klay Thompson, the Celtics were able to bring the Warriors to double overtime. Still, the Warriors won, 124-119.


Even if we didn't factor in the previous regular season, the Golden State Warriors would still have the third-longest NBA win steak.

In the next game, they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, 108-95. Out of all the teams that could have stopped the Warriors, the 33-49 Milwaukee Bucks did... This is probably because everybody but Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli shot horribly:

  • Stephen Curry (2/9 3P)

  • Klay Thompson (4/14 FG)

  • Andre Iguodala (1/9 FG)

  • Shaun Livingston (2/6 FG)

In addition, the players for the Milwaukee Bucks just stepped up big-time. Greg Monroe, who averaged 15/9/2 in the regular season, put up:

28 Points, 11 Rebounds, 5 Assists

11/17 FG, 6/7 FT

35 Minutes


Miami Heat - 27 Game Win Streak

The third longest NBA win streak belongs to the 2012-2013 Miami Heat. The Miami Heat were at the peak of their Big Three period. Returning from victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals the year before, the Miami Heat were looking for back-to-back Championships.


In addition to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, supporting stars such as the defensive-minded Shane Battier and three-point god, Ray Allen helped the Miami Heat big-time this season. Expectations for the Heat were higher than ever, and they did not disappoint.


The Heat finished the regular season with 66 wins. They would once again, make it to the Finals. To this day, this is still one of the most iconic plays of all time. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, down by three, Chris Bosh would grab the offensive rebound, passing it to Ray Allen, who would make the clutch three, tying the game, and sending the game into OT.


The Miami Heat would win the game in overtime by three points (103-100), sending the series into Game 7 where the Heat would eventually win, once again, being crowned the victors.


During the regular season, the Heat won 27 straight games. The streak began on February 3, 2013, with a 100-85 win against Toronto Raptors, and ended on March 27, 2013, when they were defeated by the Chicago Bulls, 101-97.


The game lied on the success of each team's bench player as the Big 3 for each team played amazingly. Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh combined for 71 points while Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, and Carlos Boozer combined for 66 points. However, thanks to Nate Robinson's contribution off the bench (14 points), it would help the Bulls beat the Heat by four.


Houston Rockets - 22 Game Win Streak

The team with the fourth-longest NBA win streak is the 2007-08 Houston Rockets when the Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming hype started to die down. Nevertheless, the team was still surrounded by defensive juggernauts like Dikembe Mutombo and Shane Battier. No wonder why they were ranked second in defensive rating.


The Rockets finished the regular season with a 55-27 record. Even with that good of a record, the Rockets would still only be 5th in the Western Conference. Every Western Conference playoff team in the 2007-08 NBA season had more than 50 WINS!


On the other hand, the Eastern Conference had teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, that had a negative record (40-42), still make the playoffs.


The Houston Rockets win streak would start on January 29th, 2008, against the Golden State Warriors and end on March 18th, 2008, against the Boston Celtics. Although it's not a part of the Top 3 longest NBA win streaks, what makes this win streak impressive is that Yao Ming, arguably their best player, was gone for half the win streak.


Then again, if Yao Ming was there for the half that he was gone, would the Houston Rockets' win streak continue?


A reason for their loss against the Boston Celtics was simply due to the Rockets playing horribly that day. The Rockets lost by 20 POINTS (74-94)! Not a single Rockets player scored more than 20 points, and the only starter to have a FG% more than 40% was Luis Scola (50.0 FG%).


Also Leon Powe, the backup center for the Boston Celtics just decided to go off this game. He put up:


21 Points, 4 Rebounds, 1 Steal

8/12 FG, 5/7 FT

20 Minutes


This doesn't sound like a lot, but Powe was averaging 8/4/1 within 14 minutes in the regular season.


Milwaukee Bucks - 20 Game Win Streak

The team with the fifth-longest NBA win streak was the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks. Fun fact, but this was the Milwaukee Bucks' third season in the NBA (1970-71). The Milwaukee Bucks had a roster that included excellent players like:

  • Bob Dandridge

  • Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

  • Oscar Robertson

  • Dick Cunningham

With such a roster, aiming high is a must and the Bucks did just that. They finished the season with a 66-16 record, were the Champions, and recorded a 20 game win streak, which was, at that time, the NBA record for longest NBA win streak.

The win streak started on February 6th, 1971, against the San Francisco Warriors and stopped on March 9th, 1971 against the Chicago Bulls. Once again, the Bulls stopped a 20+ win streak.


The reason for their loss was due to Tom Boerwinkle. Who you may ask? I asked that same question too. Boerwinkle was the starting center for the Chicago Bulls and in the 1970-71 NBA season, averaged:


10.8 Points, 13.8 Rebounds, 4.8 Assists

48.5 FG%, 72.4 FT%

28.4 Minutes

So, Boerwinkle was a good player, but not the best. However, in the game against the Milwaukee Bucks, he just decided to unleash his inner Wilt Chamberlain. He put up:


21 Points, 33 Rebounds, 4 Assists

6/14 FG, 9/12 FT

42 Minutes

Yeah, he was garbage from the field, but 33 REBOUNDS! What's even more surprising is that this isn't even his career-high in rebounds. In the previous season, he had 37 REBOUNDS! Also, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 3rd in Total Rebounds in the 1970-71 NBA season. Boerwinkle out-rebounded one of the best rebounders in NBA history.


Washington Capitals - 20 Game Win Streak

The team with the sixth-longest NBA win streak was the 1948-49 Washington Capitals. You could also say they are the fifth since they're tied with the Milwaukee Bucks.


First off, It's time to take a big step back in time:

  • The World was still recovering from World War 2.

  • The NBA was still known as the BAA.

  • This was the Washington Capitals' third season as an NBA team.

The Washington Capitals were led by one of the best coaches in NBA history, Red Auerbach. In the season prior (1947-48), the Capitals were a pretty mediocre team. They ended the season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

Near the end of the 1947-48 regular season, the Capitals lost six games in a row between February 25th, 1948 to March 10th, 1948. Thankfully, after that six-game losing streak, the Capitals would win five in a row; those five, being the last five games in the regular season.


Adding to the five consecutive victories from the 1947-48 NBA season, at the beginning of the 1948-49 NBA season, the Capitals would win their first 15 games! This meant that they won 25 games in a row (including last season).

The Capitals win streak would be ended by the Indianapolis Jets, which makes this loss pretty embarrassing. During the 1948-49 NBA season, the Jets were the WORST team in the Western Conference. They ended the season going 18-42 (30 W/L%). On the other hand, the Capitals were the BEST team in the Eastern Conference, going 38-22 (63.3 W/L%).


In the game, only two Capitals players (Bones McKinney and Sonny Hertzberg) had more than ten points, while the Jets had four players score more than ten:

  • Ray Lumpp: 26 Points

  • Bruce Hale: 23 Points

  • Andy Kostecka: 11 Points

  • Charlie Black: 10 Points

Los Angeles Lakers - 19 Game Win Streak

The team with the seventh-longest win streak was the 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers. During this season, Shaquille O'Neal barely won the MVP unanimously. For some reason, one person decided to give a first-place vote to Allen Iverson. At the same time, Shaq's teammate, Kobe Bryant, just made his first All-Defensive First Team and All-NBA Second Team appearance.


Besides Shaq and Kobe, the Lakers had a supporting cast that included Glen Rice, Ron Harper, Derek Fisher, and were coached by Phil Jackson, who had just left the Chicago Bulls the previous season.


With all this talent, not only would the Los Angeles Lakers have the best regular-season record (67-15) and win the NBA Finals (a first for Shaq and Kobe), the Lakers would also set their second-longest NBA win streak! Nowhere near 33 games, but still impressive!


The win streak started on February 4th, 2000 against the Utah Jazz and ended on March 16th, 2000 against the Washington Wizards. Like the Washington Capitals, this was a pretty embarrassing end to the Lakers' 19 game win streak. As said previously, the Lakers were the best team in the league. On the other hand, the Wizards were the sixth-worst team in the league (29-53).


A reason for this devastating loss was due to Kobe Bryant's performance. Kobe had an off-night this game, only putting up:


7 Points, 3 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 1 Steal, and 6 Turnovers

2/10 FG, 3/4 FT

33 Minutes


Kobe wasn't the only player that did badly. Brian Shaw also shot 20% from the field and missed all of his three-pointers (0/3), but Shaw's expectations were not set as high (no offense, lol).


To end on a more positive note, before this 19 game win streak, from December 11th, 1999 to January 12th, 2000, the Lakers also had a 15 game win streak!


San Antonio Spurs - 19 Game Win Streak

The second team that tied for the seventh-longest NBA win streak was the 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs. Coming back from a searing defeat in the Finals at the hands of the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs began the 2013-2014 season to take revenge and add another title to their wall.


They did just that.


In the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs would end with a record of 62-20. The Spurs were the best team in the league. The Spurs would make it back to the Finals and would go up against the Miami Heat again. However, this time, the Spurs would easily beat them, 4-1.


Throughout this redemption season, the Spurs also set a franchise record for longest NBA win streak. From February 26 to April 6, 2014, the Spurs would win 19 games in a row! When asked about this record, in typical Gregg Popovich fashion, Popovich just shrugged it off.


Unlike the Lakers and Capitals, the Spurs' win-streak was ended by a team that was actually good, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although neither shot well from the three-point line, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for:


55 Points, 8 Rebounds, 9 Assists, 4 Steals, and 1 Block

21/46 FG, 1/8 3P, 12/12 FT

70 Minutes


Boston Celtics - 19 Game Win Streak

The third team that tied for the seventh-longest NBA win streak was the 2008-09 Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics began the 2008 season by winning 27 games and losing only 2; unfortunately for them in the following nine games, they lost seven games.


However, this did not prevent them from finishing the season with a 62-20 record, and reaching second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.


During their impressive start to the season, the Big Three Celtics were on a 19 game win streak. This beat the Boston Celtics' previous longest NBA win streak by ONE game. The longest win NBA win streak by the Boston Celtics before this one was set by the 1981-82 Celtics which was led by Larry Bird. They won 18 games in a row.


The win streak started on November 15th, 2008, and ended on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2008, against their rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.


The Boston Celtics Big 3, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, played fine. It's just that Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol played better. Kobe and Pau combined for:


47 Points, 12 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 2 Steals, and 3 Blocks

20/37 FG, 1/3 3P, 6/6 FT

79 Minutes


To add insult to injury, not only would the Boston Celtics see their win streak be defeated by their rivals, but they also had to see the Los Angeles Lakers win the Championship this season.


Atlanta Hawks - 19 Game Win Streak

Last but not least, the fourth team that tied for the seventh-longest NBA win streak was the 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks were one of the biggest surprises of the 2014-15 season.


Yes, the Hawks did have 'Star' players, but they didn't stand out as 'Star' players. Paul Milsap and Al Horford have always been extremely underrated, but although Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver exceeded expectations that season, they were never 'Stars.'


Nevertheless, all four of them made the All-Star Game this season. Here were their averages (without efficiency, they all shot above 46 FG% and 30 3P%):


Paul Milsap:

16.7 Points, 7.8 Rebounds, 3.1 Assists, 1.8 Steals, and 0.9 Blocks


Al Horford:

15.2 Points, 7.2 Rebounds, 3.2 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 1.3 Blocks


Jeff Teague:

15.9 Points, 3.5 Rebounds, 7.0 Assists, 1.7 Steals, and 0.4 Blocks


Kyle Korver:

12.1 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, 2.6 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.6 Blocks

Not only do the Atlanta Hawks have the seventh-longest NBA win streak, but they're also one of six teams to have four players be All-Stars in the same season!


The Hawks' win streak would start on December 30th, 2014, and end on February 2nd, 2015 against the New Orleans Pelicans. In the game where they lost their winning streak, although Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague played fine, Al Horford didn't score much, and Paul Milsap shot inefficiently.

On the other hand, the Pelicans had six different players scoring more than ten points this game:

  • Anthony Davis: 29 Points (and 13 Rebounds)

  • Eric Gordon: 20 Points

  • Tyreke Evans: 15 Points (and 12 Assists)

  • Ryan Anderson: 15 Points

  • Dante Cunningham and Jimmer Fredette: 10 Points

And even then, although Omer Asik didn't have 10+ points, he had 17 rebounds that game! The only 'bad' Pelicans' player in this game was Quincy Pondexter.



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