NBA's Longest Winning Streaks
1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
Led by Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West (pictured) and Gail Goodrich, the Lakers' NBA-record streak started on Nov. 5 and ended with a loss to the Bucks on Jan. 9. The Lakers finished 69-13 in their championship season, the league's best regular-season record until the 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10.
2012-13 Miami Heat
With three superstars who came together amid controversy and with an NBA championship in 2012, the Heat were already a measuring stick opponent for every team when they won 100-85 in Toronto on Feb. 3. Twenty-six consecutive victories later, the Heat saw the NBA's second-longest win streak end in Chicago, where the Bulls defeated Miami 101-97. Miami often found itself forced to staged late-game comebacks duriung the streak, but with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all playing in the type of rhythm the club envisioned when it brought the three together as free agents in 2010, the Heat fell a mere six games short of tying the 1971-72 Lakers (33 games) for the best regular-season stretch in league history.
2007-08 Houston Rockets
A 15-17 start certainly didn't suggest the Rockets were capable of putting together a dominant run. But with complementary players like Rafer Alston and rookie forwards Luis Scola and Carl Landry supporting stars Tracy McGrady (pictured) and Yao Ming (before he got hurt), the Rockets went unbeaten for seven weeks. And they sustained the streak even after losing Yao (foot surgery) for the season 12 games into it. The streak was snapped March 18 in a 94-74 home loss to the Celtics.
2011-12 San Antonio Spurs
With their victory against Oklahoma City in Game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference finals, the Spurs set an NBA record for longest winning streak bridging the regular season and playoffs. That marked their 10th consecutive win to open the playoffs, on the heels of a 10-0 regular-season finish. (San Antonio lost Game 3 to the Thunder.) Tim Duncan and Co. also had two separate 11-game winning streaks during the regular season, when they used their venerable Big Three, young role players and the league's top offense to tie Chicago for the best record at 50-16.
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
Before the Lakers won 33 in a row, the Bucks held the NBA record thanks in large part to second-year center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then named Lew Alcindor) and Oscar Robertson, who was acquired from the Cincinnati Royals before the 1970-71 season. Abdul-Jabbar averaged a league-leading 31.7 points in the regular season, and then claimed the first of his six NBA titles.
1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers had winning streaks of 16 and 19 during the season, Phil Jackson's first on the L.A. bench. Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant went on to win their first championship together, though not before needing victories against Sacramento (first round) and Portland (conference finals) in the decisive game of two playoff series.
2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers' second 19-game winning streak in two years spanned the final eight games of the regular season and the first 11 games of the playoffs. Only an overtime loss to the 76ers in the NBA Finals prevented the Shaq- and Kobe-fueled Lakers from becoming the first NBA team to complete a spotless postseason.
2008-09 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett and the Celtics rode their early-season streak to a franchise-best 27-2 start, before getting tripped up on a West Coast trip that included losses to the Lakers (a streak-snapping defeat on Christmas), Warriors and Trail Blazers. Soon thereafter Boston put together a 12-game winning streak in a season in which it finished 62-20 but lost in the second round of the playoffs to Orlando.
1969-1970 New York Knicks
The Knicks were loaded with Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley and Cazzie Russell. That group, coached by Red Holzman, delivered New York its first NBA championship.
1981-82 Boston Celtics
The streak was part of the Celtics' league-best 63-19 season, but Larry Bird & Co. missed a chance to repeat as NBA champions when they lost in the Eastern Conference finals to the Julius Erving-led 76ers.
1995-96 Chicago Bulls
The Bulls did it all that season, setting an NBA record for regular-season victories (72) and winning what would be the first title in their second three-peat.