Which Teams Finished With the Best Records in NBA History? (2024)

Things seem better in the cold winter months when your city’s basketball team is a contender.

And if you’re fan of one of the best NBA teams of all time, you won’t soon forget the eight months of joy that season brought from October to June.

That’s because over the course of their magical campaign, the clubs that took a run at the best single-season win-loss record in league history often looked as though they might never lose. The Los Angeles Lakers, who won 69 games in 1971-72, set the NBA record with 33 straight victories, the Golden State Warriors won 28 in a row en route to 67 wins in 2015-16.

The Chicago Bulls had quite a few of those years after Michael Jordan reached his prime in the 1990s. The franchise went 203-43 (.825) during the regular season from 1995-96 to ’97-98. It was the best winning percentage by any team in a three-season span in NBA history before the Warriors went 207-39 (.841) from 2014-15 to ’16-17.

Here are the teams that had the best regular seasons in NBA history:

1. 2015-16 Golden State Warriors: 73-9, .890

It didn’t take long to realize something special was happening when the defending champs set an NBA record by opening the 2015-16 season 24-0. And with a 48-4 record at the All-Star break, it was clear that the Warriors would have a shot at the regular-season record for wins.

Needing a victory on the final night of the season, Golden State beat the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 to finish an all-time best 73-9. Stephen Curry won his second NBA MVP and Steve Kerr, who played on the 1995-96 Bulls team that won 72 games, was named NBA Coach of the Year.

But it wasn’t all seashells and balloons for the Warriors, who got past the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and future Warrior Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder (barely) in the Western Conference finals but couldn’t close out a 3-1 series lead against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Which Teams Finished With the Best Records in NBA History? (1)

2. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls: 72-10, .878

With Jordan back for his first full season after stepping away for the 1993-94 and most of the 1994-95 seasons, the 1995-96 Bulls seemed to be on a mission. Jordan was dominant in taking home NBA MVP honors, Phil Jackson was named Coach of the Year and Toni Kukoc was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

In the postseason, the Bulls swept the Miami Heat in the first round, took out the rival New York Knicks in five games in the second round, swept the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals and beat the Seattle SuperSonics in six games for their fourth NBA title in six seasons.

T-3. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls: 69-13, .841

Chicago picked up where it left off a year after winning 72 games, opening the 1996-97 NBA season with a 17-1 record. At 68-10 in the final week, the Bulls had a chance to match their record from the year before but lost three of their last four games.

They weren’t quite as dominant in the postseason either, going 15-4 but winning the first of back-to-back Finals matchups with the Utah Jazz. Chicago won in six games to become NBA champions for the fifth time in seven years. And Jordan was named Finals MVP for the fifth time.

T-3. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers: 69-13, .841

The Lakers’ 69 wins stood as the most in NBA regular-season history until Jordan’s Chicago Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-96. Los Angeles’ roster was one of the best in franchise history and included Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich and future coaches Pat Riley and Jim Cleamons.

The team’s run included the previously mentioned historic 33-game winning streak that began on Nov. 5 and ended on Jan. 9 whenKareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 39 to help the Milwaukee Bucks finally beat the Lakers. The Lakers went 12-3 in the playoffs and won the title in five games over the Knicks.

5. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers: 68-13, .840

The great Wilt Chamberlain averaged 24.1 points, 24.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists, while Hal Greer (22.1 points per game), Chet Walker (19.3) and Billy Cunningham (18.5) also played key roles for the 68-win Sixers. Philadelphia won 46 of its first 50 games and took the Eastern Division by eight games over the mighty Boston Celtics.

In the playoffs, the 76ers beat Oscar Robertson’s Cincinnati Royals, Bill Russell’s Celtics and Rick Barry’s San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Finals. It was the franchise’s first NBA championship in Philadelphia after moving from Syracuse four years earlier. In 1980, the 1966-67 Sixers were chosen as the greatest individual team for the NBA’s 35th anniversary.

The Next Best:

  • 6. 1972-73 Boston Celtics: 68-14, .829
  • T-7. 1985-86 Boston Celtics: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 1991-92 Chicago Bulls: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 2014-15 Golden State Warriors: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 2016-17 Golden State Warriors: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers: 67-15, .817
  • T-7. 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs: 67-15, .817
  • 14. 1946-47 Washington Capitols 49-11, .817
  • T-15. 2007-08 Boston Celtics 66-16, .805
  • T-15. 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers 66-16, .805
  • T-15. 2012-13 Miami Heat 66-16, .805
  • T-15. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks 66-16, .805

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Which Teams Finished With the Best Records in NBA History? (2024)
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