5 longest winning streaks in NBA history
The Golden State Warriors have put together a dynastic run over the last 4 years, the likes of which was only last seen by the Boston Celtics during the '60s. Indeed, so complete is their domination of the basketball world that the only time they haven't won a title in this intervening period was when they held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, before losing the last 3 games of the series to LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers - allowing one of the most unlikely comebacks in basketball history having made one themselves in the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fans of the Thunder were then greeted with the worst possible news on the 4th of July, 2016 when Kevin Durant decided to join forces with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and put together the most glittering collection of basketball talent ever put together.
The Warriors have surpassed even that this offseason with the signing of DeMarcus Cousins to the taxpayers' mid-level exception of $5.3 million, taking a gamble on the most dominant center in all of basketball when fit, but who's currently rehabbing a torn Achilles that cost him the latter half of the 2017-18 season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Given that they now clearly have the best collection of talent ever put together in the league by a fair margin, the result of the 2019 NBA championship is all but certain already. But the question still remains as to whether the Warriors can surpass the dominance they displayed in the 2015-16 season when they won the first 24 games of the season.
The following are the 5 longest winning streaks in NBA history:
5. 20 wins by the Milwaukee Bucks (1970-71 season)
In one of the most momentous roster changes in the league to ever take place, the Milwaukee Bucks were able to sign guard Oscar Robertson as a free agent in what is officially the first free-agent transfer to ever take place in the NBA - albeit a restricted free agency at that.
The Big O was done with the Cincinnati franchise which hadn't put together a roster which would allow him to make the Finals he so richly deserved to make. Together with the best center in basketball, the best guard in the game took the league by storm in the duo's first season together. The Bucks won the 1971 NBA Finals 4-0 against a star-studded New York Knicks team, based largely on Oscar's and Lew Alcindor's contributions.
Before that run, they also put together one of the longest winning streaks ever in the regular season. Starting with a 111-85 victory over the San Francisco Warriors on the 6th of February, 1971, the Bucks went on a 20-game rampage that only ended with a 103-110 defeat to the Chicago Bulls.
4. 22 wins by the Houston Rockets (2007-08 season)
The Houston Rockets were one of the most fun teams to watch in the league during the mid-2000s. Having enacted a trade to team Tracy McGrady up with future fellow Hall of Famer Yao Ming in the summer of 2004, great things were expected of the duo in historically the most stacked period the Western Conference went through (other than the season about to commence).
Powered by T-Mac's continued excellence, the Rockets put together arguably the most commendable winning streak since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, winning 22 games on the trot despite missing Ming for about half the games in this run. Ming broke his foot 12 games into this streak and was unable to stage a return from this injury for the rest of the season.
Their streak commenced with a 111-107 win over the Golden State Warriors on the 29th of January, 2008, and was alive for 22 games until a 74-94 loss to eventual NBA champions Boston Celtics on 18th March, 2008.
3. 27 wins by Miami Heat (2012-13 season)
The Miami Heat ensemble, having failed at the Finals hurdle, dominated most of its competition en route a first ring in their second season together (2011-12). The Heatles' Big 3 then entered the following regular season campaign bolstered by 2 seasons of bonding and a peak LeBron James on one of the most dominant runs in the history of the league.
The King finished the season one vote short of a unanimous MVP award and in second place for the Defensive Player of the Year voting. The Heat, powered by his unstoppable dominance in transition and in the low post, put together a midseason run as good as any in the history of the league.
They won 27 games on the trot, starting from 3rd February, 2013 with a victory against the Toronto Raptors. This streak ended late in March with a defeat to Tom Thibodeau and his Rose-less Bulls cast, as Chicago ground out a 101-97 win at the United Center battling incredible odds.
2. 28 wins by the Golden State Warriors (2014-15 and 2015-16 together)
The Golden State Warriors rounded off their dominant 2014-15 season with a run of 4 consecutive wins at the end. Having won the title in the postseason, they came back to the 2015-16 season with a chip on their shoulders - mainly because of the circlejerk that a fully fit Cavaliers team would have beaten them in the Finals.
They set the record for largest incremental margin of victory over the first 4 games of a regular season campaign with a 100 point differential (the 1961-62 Celtics earlier held the record with 99). Curry was playing by far the best basketball of his career, and the Warriors rarely ever needed him to step on the court during the last 3-4 minutes of each game because they'd already guaranteed blowout wins much before that period.
They took their run to 28 successive games with a double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics, before losing to Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks team on 12th December 2015.
1. 33 wins by the Los Angeles Lakers (1971-72 season)
Elgin Baylor might just be the unluckiest player in basketball history. He got bounced out of the Finals each of the 8 times he made it to that stage, and his team embarked on the greatest regular season run of all time just as he went down with nagging knee injuries at the start of the 1971-72 season and announced his retirement.
The power trio of Baylor, West and Chamberlain was the first ever super team assembled in the league. It was the best guard, the best forward and arguably the best center in the league at the time coming together to try and win titles.
The Los Angeles Lakers' 33-game winning streak hold the record of longest winning streak in NBA history, began with a 4-point victory over the Baltimore Bullets (110-106) on the 5th of November, 1971. It lasted well beyond the Christmas and New Year celebrations, finally being broken by Kareem and Oscar's Milwaukee Bucks on the 9th of January, 1972.