In honor of the Miami Heat’s historic accomplishment of winning 27 straight games, THD proudly presents the Top 10 Winning Streaks in NBA History:
Unfortunately for the Miami Heat, if history is any indication, a great win streak doesn’t promise you an NBA title. Only 4 of 10 of the longest win streaks in NBA history resulted in a championship (*).
Of this amazing list of teams, which one do you think is the best?
Kevin Garnett 15.8 ppg 8.5 rpg 1.2 bpg
Paul Pierce 20.5 ppg 5.6 rpg 39.1% 3’s
Ray Allan 18.2 ppg 95.2% FT’s 40.9% 3’s
Fresh off their 2008 NBA Championship, the re-energized Boston Celtics strung together 19 straight wins. In the great Celtics tradition, these Celtics were an amazing defensive team. They finished the season 62-20. The streak, however, was not enough to propel the Celtics back to the Finals. Without the injured All-Star Kevin Garnett, the Celtics fell 4-3 to the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Shaquille O’Neal 29.7 ppg 13.6 rpg 3.0 bpg
Kobe Bryant 22.5 ppg 6.3 rpg 1.6 spg
After the Los Angeles Lakers hired Hall of Fame Coach Phil Jackson, L.A. went on a sensational run. The Lakers grew into a championship team under Jackson’s tutelage. In this first run more than others, Kobe played robin to Shaq’s batman. O’Neal was the team’s engine, their leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker. Bryant led the team assists, steals, and was second in scoring. This was a team that took some time to grow. Their 19-game win streak started with a complete destruction of the Utah Jazz, 113-67. In that game the Jazz franchise lost a game by the biggest margin by any team in NBA history to a team at the beginning of a win streak of 17-games or longer. That eclipsed the previous dubious record also held by the Jazz when they lost 132-90 to the ’81-’82 Celtics on February 24th, 1982. The Lakers finished the season 67-15 and won the NBA Championship 4-2 in a series against the Indiana Pacers.
Shaquille O’Neal 30.4 ppg 15.4 rpg 2.4 bpg
Kobe Bryant 29.4 ppg 6.1 apg 1.6 spg
Derek Fisher 13.4 ppg 51.5% 3’s 1.3 spg
Even though the Lakers finished the season 56-26, they finished the year on fire. Storming through the league in their quest of a second consecutive championship, the ’00-’01 Lakers road an 8 game winning streak into the playoffs where they won 11 more. Because 11 of their 19 wins were playoff wins, they are ranked slightly above the ’99-’00 Lakers and ’08-’09 Celtics. In the playoffs, the Lakers were a record 15-1 en route to back-to-back titles. In the first round, L.A. beat the Portland Trailblazers 3-0. Next, the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 4-0 and the San Antonio Spurs 4-0 in the 2001 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers finished things off with a 4-1 thrashing of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 31.7 ppg 16.0 rpg
Oscar Robertson 19.4 ppg 8.2 apg 5.7 rpg
In this magical season, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led one of the greatest teams of all-time. This streak began with a 111-85 annihilation of the San Francisco Warriors. Between Robertson’s all-around brilliance and Jabbar’s devastating sky-hooks, rebounding and defense, they dominated the league, winning 20 consecutive games on their way to 66 wins overall and the 1971 NBA Title in a sweep of the Baltimore Bullets.
Bob Feerick 13.0 ppg (1949)
Bob Feerick 16.1 ppg (1948)
Led by Bob Feerick and the coaching of Red Auerbach, the Capitols had streaks of 20 consecutive wins in consecutive seasons. In 1948, the Capitals made the BAA Finals.
Tim Duncan 15.4 ppg 9.0 rpg 1.5 bpg
Tony Parker 18.3 ppg 7.7 apg 1.0 spg
Manu Ginobili 12.9 ppg 4.4 apg 41.3% 3’s
Although their run ended unceremoniously with a stunning upset at the hand of the young and hungry Oklahoma City Thunder, the 2011-2012 Spurs had a fantastic run to end the season. They might have peaked too early. Will we be saying the same thing about the 2012-2013 Miami Heat at the end of the season? Or, maybe the Thunder just matched up too well with them. Either way, after winning 10 straight regular season games and 10 straight playoff games, the Spurs were eliminated in the 2012 Western Conference Finals, 4-2.
Yao Ming 22.0 ppg 10.8 rpg 2.0 bpg
Tracy McGrady 21.6 ppg 5.1 rpg 5.9 apg
This was essentially the last run for the Ming-McGrady Rockets. After starting the season 8-8 in November, the Rockets went a dismal 6-8 in December. Later in the season, they caught fire. In February, the Rockets were 13-0. The Rick Adelman-coached Rockets extended their improbable win streak to 22 games, but lost 4-2 to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
LeBron James 26.7 ppg 8.2 rpg 7.4 apg
Dwayne Wade 21.5 ppg 5.0 rpg 5.0 apg
Chris Bosh 16.5 ppg 6.8 rpg 1.3 bpg
Starting off with a 100-85 smack down of the lowly Toronto Raptors in February, this Miami Heat run has grown into one of the best and most legendary win-streaks in NBA history. When their streak finally ended with a close loss to the Chicago Bulls, 101-97. In the loss, James poured in 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Bosh had 21 and Wade 18. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 28 points, and Nate Robinson added 14 points and 3 assists off the bench.
Gail Goodrich 25.9 ppg 4.5 apg
Jerry West 25.8 ppg 9.7 apg
Wilt Chamberlain 14.8 ppg 19.2 rpg 64.9%
Jim McMillian 18.8 ppg 6.5 rpg
This was a perfect storm of sorts. After the Lakers Hall of Fame forward Elgin Baylor retired due to nagging injuries, the Lakers did not look capable of this type of run. But, they had just re-acquired Hall of Fame guard Gail Goodrich. Jerry West and Gail Goodrich made a dynamic backcourt filled with sharp-shooting and high I.Q.-basketball. The key to this run was teamwork. To win, they needed everyone working as a unit. These Lakers won 33 straight games en route to 69 wins total and the 1972 NBA Title with a 4-1 beating of the New York Knicks.