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The Biggest Winning and Losing Streaks in NBA History

It might be a strange thing to see in an Online Sportsbook, but winning and losing streaks are a pretty popular bet these days, especially with the rise of super teams in various sporting leagues around the world. To predict French football giants PSG to win five games in a row isn't unrealistic at all because of the strength of their squad. The same could be said for the current NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.

The NBA season is one of the longest in modern sports. It consists of 82 games per team, with games being played almost every night. It has been a pressing topic of many conversations for some time within the league, as many have spoken out about the physical side and mental toll that such a long season takes on players. Because of the generous portion of games teams play each year, however, the NBA is filled with winning and losing streaks. More so than most other sporting leagues around the world.

With that being said, it's quite an interesting thing to wonder who holds the record for the longest win streak and losing streak. Let's answer both.


Winning
Straight away, you must know that neither LeBron James nor Steph Curry was a part of the team that holds the longest winning streak record. Depending on your knowledge of NBA history, it may come as a surprise to you to find out that the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers hold the record for the longest winning streak in the history of the league. They won an impressive 33 straight games, starting with win number one on the 11th of November 1971 and ending with win number 33 on the 2nd of January 1972.

The reason this isn't really a surprise is that at that time, the Los Angeles outfit had two of the greatest players to ever play the game on their roster, namely Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. They eventually went on to win the title that year, which, again, isn't a big surprise.

Modern fans of the NBA might have assumed that the LeBron James-led Miami Heat may have held the longest winning streak after they cruised to a 27-game undefeated streak in the 2012-13 season. Unfortunately for those fans, as great as that Heat team was, they don't even hold the second longest winning streak. While they did come the closest to breaking the Lakers' single-season streak, the Curry-led Warriors actually hold the number two spot after they won 28 games in a row spanning the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Rounding out the top five list on the longest winning streaks in NBA history is the 2007-08 Houston Rockets, who won 22 straight, and the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks, who had 20 in a row. It's interesting to note that the 2021-22 Phoenix Suns, buoyed by the veteran Chris Pauls resurgence, recently came close to breaking into that top five list with their 18-game run last season.

Losing
It's always fun talking about winning streaks in the NBA because there's so much greatness behind the teams that have gone on insane runs. People could spend hours talking about Wilt and Jerry dominating the league or the big three of LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh putting South Beach on the map. Its not as much fun talking about losing, though.

A losing team in the NBA is akin to a restaurant with no patrons in it. Its hard to witness, and you genuinely feel sorry for them. For fans of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, losing became an all-too-familiar reality. Both teams sit atop the list of the longest losing streaks in the league, with a whopping 26 games dropped. For the Cavs, it was their first season without LeBron James, who had decided to take his talents to South Beach. They ended up with just 19 wins that season, but that poor run of form would prove to be a proper blessing in disguise as it gave them the No.1 pick in the following seasons draft. They selected Kyrie Irving. Needless to say, they haven't slumped to the depths of that season's poor form since.

Philly had a similar fate, also only managing to notch 19 wins overall in their record-breaking season of losses. However, they too would go on to land a high pick in the following season's draft, which they used to select current superstar Joel Embiid. Theres always light at the end of the tunnel!

Rounding up the top five longest losing streaks in the NBA are the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets, and the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats, who all slumped to a 23-game losing streak. More recently, the 2020-21 Houston Rockets dropped 20 games in a row in a forgettable season for the storied franchise.

Conclusion The natural ebbs and flows of a single season, or even multiple seasons, in the NBA can be a rollercoaster ride for fans. One season can be full of success, but the next could be a disaster. If you're new to watching the NBA, its probably advisable to pick your team very carefully!