Miami Heat and the Longest Winning Streaks in NBA History

The Miami Heat Are Streaking Away with the East

The Miami Heat Are Streaking Away with the East

The Miami Heat just cracked the list of top 20 longest winning streaks in NBA history with their 16th win in a row – a down-to-the-wire victory against the Orlando Magic. With three seconds left and down by one, LeBron James iced it with a layup.

Sounds good, 16 wins. But the Heat have a long way to go before catching 1971-72’s eventual champion, Wilt Chamberlain‘s Los Angeles Lakers. They ran off 33 games in a row, more than double Miami’s current streak.

The Heat’s streak is not even the longest streak of the season – the Los Angeles Clippers posted a 17-game run this November-December.

But, it’s still alive.

We’ll follow the Heat’s streak along and update the chart to see just how far in the rankings Miami will go. They might hit a roadblock this Sunday against the Indiana Pacers, but first the Heat will look for their 17th straight against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night.

Do streaks signify anything? Are they harbingers of good things? Finals appearances? Titles, perhaps?

Minus the Heat’s and Clippers’ streaks from this undecided season, there are 22 listed below. Eleven represent NBA Finals champions (green) and another three represent NBA Finals losers (red). That’s 14 of 22, or a 64% chance of making the Finals (and a 50% chance of winning it all).

Will the Miami Heat and the L.A. Clippers meet in the 2013 NBA Finals, then? According to “streak-theory,” that pairing has a better chance than any other. The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs may have something to say about that. The Heat look unbeatable out of the East, though.

LIST UPDATED: The Miami Heat’s winning streak ended at 27 on March 27th. They lost to the Chicago Bulls, 101-97. Amazing run.

  TEAM STREAK BEGIN END SEASON RESULT
1. Los Angeles Lakers 33 Nov. 5, 1971 Jan. 7, 1972 WON NBA FINALS over New York Knicks (4-1)
2. Miami Heat 27 Feb. 3, 2013 Mar. 27, 2013 TBD
3. Houston Rockets 22 Jan. 29, 2008 Mar. 16, 2008 Lost Western Conference First Round to Utah Jazz (4-2)
4. Washington Capitols 20 Mar. 13, 1948 Dec. 4, 1948 1948-49: LOST BAA FINALS to Minneapolis Lakers (4-2)
4. Milwaukee Bucks 20 Feb. 6, 1971 Mar. 8, 1971 WON NBA FINALS over Baltimore Bullets (4-0)*
6. Los Angeles Lakers 19 Feb. 4, 2000 Mar. 13, 2000 WON NBA FINALS over Indiana Pacers (4-2)**
6. Boston Celtics 19 Nov. 15, 2008 Dec. 23, 2008 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals to Orlando Magic (4-3)
8. Rochester Royals 18 Feb. 17, 1950 Nov. 11, 1950 1950-51: WON NBA FINALS over New York Knicks (4-3)
8. Philadelphia 76ers 18 Mar. 3, 1966 Nov. 4, 1966 1966-67: WON NBA FINALS over San Francisco Warriors (4-2)
8. New York Knicks 18 Oct. 24, 1969 Nov. 28, 1969 WON NBA FINALS over Los Angeles Lakers (4-3)
8. Boston Celtics 18 Feb. 24, 1982 Mar. 26, 1982 Lost Eastern Conference Finals to Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)
8. Chicago Bulls 18 Dec. 29, 1995 Feb. 2, 1996 WON NBA FINALS over Seattle SuperSonics (4-2)
13. Washington Capitols 17 Nov. 16, 1946 Dec. 30, 1946 Lost BAA Semifinals to Chicago Stags (4-2)
13. Boston Celtics 17 Nov. 28, 1959 Dec. 30, 1959 WON NBA FINALS over St. Louis Hawks (4-3)
13. San Antonio Spurs 17 Feb. 29, 1996 Mar. 31, 1996 Lost Western Conference Semifinals to Utah Jazz (4-2)
13. Phoenix Suns 17 Dec. 29, 2006 Jan. 28, 2007 Lost Western Conference Semifinals to San Antonio Spurs (4-2)
13. Dallas Mavericks 17 Jan. 27, 2007 Mar. 11, 2007 Lost Western Conference First Round to Golden State Warriors (4-2)
13. Los Angeles Clippers 17 Nov. 28, 2012 Dec. 30, 2012 TBD
19. Boston Celtics 16 Dec. 19, 1964 Jan. 22, 1965 WON NBA FINALS over Los Angeles Lakers (4-1)
19. Milwaukee Bucks 16 Oct. 24, 1970 Nov. 25, 1970 WON NBA FINALS over Baltimore Bullets (4-0)*
19. Milwaukee Bucks 16 Feb. 28, 1973 Oct. 13, 1973 1973-74: LOST NBA FINALS to Boston Celtics (4-3)
19. Los Angeles Lakers 16 Jan. 9, 1991 Feb. 5, 1991 LOST NBA FINALS to Chicago Bulls (4-1)
19. Portland Trail Blazers 16 Mar. 20, 1991 Apr. 19, 1991 Lost Western Conference Finals to Los Angeles Lakers (4-2)
19. Los Angeles Lakers 16 Dec. 11, 1999 Jan. 12, 2000 WON NBA FINALS over Indiana Pacers (4-2)**

Notes: For streaks that span two seasons, the “season result” column reflects the year the streak ended. Also, these are all regular-season streaks. To see playoff winning streaks, check out Longest Winning Streaks in NBA Playoff History.

Longest losing streaks? Regular Season and Playoffs.

* The champion Milwaukee Bucks have two ranked streaks from 1970-71 (16, then 20)

** The champion L.A. Lakers have two ranked streaks from 1999-00 (16, then 19)

Thanks to basketball-reference.com‘s play index where this query will give you every winning streak ever.

Photo: nba.com

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Posted on March 7, 2013, in NBA Basketball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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