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5 Greatest regular-season starts in NBA history

Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell's Utah Jazz started the 2020-21 season firing on all cylinders.
ANALYST
Modified 18 Feb 2021
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Starting the NBA season in red-hot form is a fantastic achievement for every team that prepares through a tough preseason before heading into a new year. The 2020-21 NBA season has witnessed a tremendous start for the Utah Jazz, who have won 23 of their first 28 games and own the best record in the league right now.

Last year, we saw the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks both get off to 24-3 starts in their respective campaigns. The LA Lakers eventually ended up winning the NBA Championship while the Bucks finished with the best record in the entire league during the regular season. In this report, we give you the five greatest starts to a regular season in NBA history.


5 Greatest starts to an NBA regular season in league history

Dominant regular seasons do not always translate into postseason success, as we saw with the Milwaukee Bucks last year. But it is certainly a strong sign that indicates a team is a title contender.

In this report, we will give you the five greatest regular-season starts in NBA history, including teams that eventually took home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

The rankings consist of teams who got the most consecutive wins to start an NBA season.


#5 Dallas Mavericks / 2002-03 NBA season

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Dirk Nowitzki celebrates with Steve Nash.
Dirk Nowitzki celebrates with Steve Nash.

Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash were an incredible duo as they guided the Don Nelson-coached Dallas Mavericks to a 14-0 start in the 2002-03 NBA season. The record is tied for the fourth-largest winning streak to start a new league campaign.

The team's first loss during that season came on November 28th when they visited the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse and lost 110-98.

The Mavericks went 60-22 in the regular season and tied the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the league. The two teams were 2-2 in their meetings, although San Antonio got home-court advantage throughout the playoffs because they had a better Conference record.

The Mavs and Spurs met in the 2003 Western Conference Finals and San Antonio won the series in six games on their way to their second NBA Championship.


#4 Boston Celtics / 1957-58 NBA season

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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics' logo.

The Boston Celtics were the defending champions when the 1957-58 campaign started, and Bill Russell and company took 14 consecutive wins to start the new season.

Boston was looking for the second title in franchise history and ended the regular season with a 49-23 record. Russell earned the first of his five MVP awards in just his second year in the league.

Though the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia Warriors in the Eastern Division Finals, Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks had their revenge and beat Boston in a six-game NBA Finals series.


#3 Washington Capitols / 1948-49 BAA season

The legendary Red Auerbach was Washington
The legendary Red Auerbach was Washington's coach at the time. Photo Credit: SI Vault.

The 1948-49 Washington Capitols established a then record with 15 consecutive wins to start the season. At the time, they also set the record for most consecutive regular-season wins with 20 (they had won their last five regular-season games of the previous campaign).

They became the first team to achieve 20 consecutive regular-season wins and also the first to start a season with at least 10 consecutive victories.

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The Red Auerbach-led team went 38-22 in a league steal called the BAA (Basketball Association of America). However, they lost the 1949 BAA Finals to the Minneapolis Lakers.


#2 Houston Rockets / 1993-94 NBA season

Photo Credit: NBA.com.
Photo Credit: NBA.com.

Starting the season with a 15-0 record is a big statement, especially in the tough Western Conference. Also, without the threat of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls coming from the East, the 1993-94 Houston Rockets became the team to look out for at that time.

The Rockets, with Hakeem Olajuwon leading the charge, tied the Capitols' record from the 1948-49 season. More importantly, they went on to win the championship in a seven-game NBA Finals against the New York Knicks.

Amazingly, Olajuwon also won the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA Finals MVP awards during that historic season.


#1 Golden State Warriors - 2015-16 NBA season

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Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors (L) and Draymond Green #23 celebrate their historic 2015-16 regular season.
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors (L) and Draymond Green #23 celebrate their historic 2015-16 regular season.

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors will always be remembered by basketball fans for two reasons. The Warriors went 73-9 in the regular season, breaking the all-time record held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10). They also became the first team in NBA history to lose an NBA Finals after having a 3-1 lead.

Despite those two easily recognizable facts for most basketball fans, the Warriors also started the season with an incredible 24-0 record. It remains the largest undefeated streak to start a season in NBA history.

Moreover, they established the second-longest winning streak in league history, as they had won their last four games of the 2014-15 regular season. At the end of the regular season, Stephen Curry won the first unanimous MVP in league history.


Also read: Five Longest winning streaks in NBA history

Published 18 Feb 2021, 19:03 IST
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