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
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
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
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:
Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
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%
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
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.