What Are the Longest Winning and Losing Streaks in NBA History?

Here's a look at the teams that have flown the highest and sunk the lowest in terms of streaks in NBA history

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The Phoenix Suns have put their slow start to the 2021-22 NBA season well behind them.

After dropping three of their first four games, the reigning Western Conference champions have reeled off 18 consecutive victories, setting the record for the longest winning streak in franchise history.

Their latest victory came on Thursday night against the lowly Detroit Pistons in Phoenix. Without Devin Booker due to a hamstring injury, the Suns got 48 points from their bench to secure a 114-103 win and improve to 19-3 on the season.

Now that Chris Paul and Co. have broken the franchise-record winning streak, how many more victories are required to break the NBA record?

What is the longest winning streak in NBA history?

If the Suns want to be the owners of the longest single-season winning streak in NBA history, they can’t lose another game until early January. That’s because the mark they need to track down is 33.

The Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA-record 33 straight games in 1971-72. Despite losing Elgin Baylor to retirement early in the season, the Lakers didn’t drop a single matchup from Nov. 11, 1971, to Jan. 2, 1972. Of course, L.A. still had Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, and they went on to capture the 1972 championship.

The Warriors have the second-longest winning streak overall at 28 games, stretching from the end of the 2014-15 season (four straight wins) into the beginning of the 2015-16 season (24 straight wins).

But the team that’s come closest to matching the Lakers’ single-season record is the 2012-13 Miami Heat. The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh won 27 consecutive games in their third season together. The Chicago Bulls snapped Miami’s streak with a 101-97 win on March 27, 2013. However, the Heat would get payback in the playoffs, beating Chicago in the Eastern Conference semifinals en route to a second consecutive championship.

The 2015-16 Warriors (24 straight wins), 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) and 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20) are the only other teams in NBA history to win at least 20 consecutive games in one season. For the Suns to join that exclusive club, they need to beat the Golden State Warriors on the road on Friday and the San Antonio Spurs at home on Monday.

Phoenix is currently tied with four other teams for the 10th-longest single-season winning streak. Here are all of the teams who have won at least 18 straight in one season:

1. Los Angeles Lakers, 1971-72: 33

2. Miami Heat, 2012-13: 27

3. Golden State Warriors, 2015-16: 24

4. Houston Rockets, 2007-08: 22

5. Milwaukee Bucks, 1970-71: 20

T-6. Los Angeles Lakers, 1999-2000: 19

T-6. Boston Celtics, 2008-09: 19

T-6. San Antonio Spurs, 2013-14: 19

T-6. Atlanta Hawks, 2014-15: 19

T-10. New York Knicks, 1969-70: 18

T-10. Boston Celtics, 1981-82: 18

T-10. Chicago Bulls, 1995-96: 18

T-10. Milwaukee Bucks, 2019-20: 18

T-10. Phoenix Suns, 2021-22: 18

What is the longest losing streak in NBA history?

The longest single-season losing streak in NBA history is 26 games, and it’s been achieved twice.

The Cleveland Cavaliers quickly learned life without LeBron James isn’t easy. In the first season after he departed to Miami, the 2010-11 Cavs broke the NBA record with a 26-game losing streak. Cleveland won just 19 games that season, but all that losing wasn’t for naught. The Cavaliers landed the No. 1 overall pick in the subsequent draft lottery and used it to select Kyrie Irving.

Prior to the 2010-11 Cavs, the longest single-season losing streak was 23 games, which was done by three teams: the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, 1997-98 Denver Nuggets and 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats.

A few seasons after Cleveland’s 26-game skid, the Philadelphia 76ers endured the exact same thing. The Sixers began the first year of “The Process” era in 2013-14 with a stunning 3-0 start before crashing back down to earth. Philadelphia went nearly two months without a victory but blew out the Detroit Pistons on March 29, 2014, to avoid suffering a record-breaking 27th straight loss. Similar to the 2010-11 Cavs, the Sixers won 19 games that season and turned their high draft pick into a superstar: Joel Embiid.

Over the following two seasons, the Sixers would set the longest losing streak overall in NBA history. They lost their final 10 games of the 2014-15 season before dropping the first 18 games of the 2015-16 campaign for a 28-game skid.

Here’s a full look at the longest single-season losing streaks in NBA history:

T-1. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2010-11: 26

T-1. Philadelphia 76ers, 2013-14: 26

T-3. Vancouver Grizzlies, 1995-96: 23

T-3. Denver Nuggets, 1997-98: 23

T-3. Charlotte Bobcats, 2011-12: 23

T-6. Philadelphia 76ers, 1972-73: 20

T-6. Dallas Mavericks, 1993-94: 20

T-6. Houston Rockets, 2020-21: 20

T-9. San Diego Clippers, 1981-82: 19

T-9. Cleveland Cavaliers, 1981-82: 19

T-9. Los Angeles Clippers, 1988-89: 19

T-9. Dallas Mavericks, 1992-93: 19

T-9. Vancouver Grizzlies, 1995-96: 19

T-9. Orlando Magic, 2003-04: 19

T-9. Memphis Grizzlies, 2017-18: 19

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