NBA Saturday: Other Amazing NBA Streaks
Other Great NBA Streaks
Since the Chicago Blackhawks saw their impressive streak of 24 straight games without a regulation loss snapped on Friday night, the Miami HEAT officially have the most impressive current win streak in professional sports with 17 consecutive victories of their own. As incredible as that streak is, however, there have been many streaks arguably even more impressive than that over the course of league history.
Here are a few of them:
Philadelphia’s Playoffs Streak – Between 1955 and 1977, the Philadelphia 76ers/Syracuse Nationals, made the postseason 22 consecutive times. The closest any active team has gotten to that is the San Antonio Spurs, who have made the playoffs 15 straight times, and look to make it 16 in 2013. The Dallas Mavericks have been 12 consecutive times, but the next closest continuous active streak is the Denver Nuggets at 9. Both of those teams should extend that this year, too, but all these teams have a way to go if they hope to catch the Sixers’ record.
Most Consecutive Free-Throws – In 1993, Minnesota Timberwolves player Michael Williams sunk 97 straight free throws, a streak that extended over two seasons. He missed a free throw in late March of that calendar year, and didn’t miss again until November 9th.
Most Consecutive Three-Pointers Made – Amazingly, the two players who hold this record both accomplished the feat in 1996 (though in two different seasons); both Brent Price and Terry Mills made, at one point, 13 three-point field goals without a miss over the course of a few games.
Most Consecutive Points in a Regular Season Game – On December 10, 2008, Carmelo Anthony was responsible for 26 straight points in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. That’s more of a single-game streak, but a pretty impressive streak all the same.
Cleveland’s Losing Streak – The NBA record for most consecutive losses occurred in 2010-2011, when the Cleveland Cavaliers lost 26 straight games. They won before Christmas that season, and then didn’t win again until right before Valentine’s Day. That year, they broke the previous record of 24 straight losses, which had been held by the 1981-1982 Cleveland Cavaliers.
A.C. Green’s Consecutive Games Played Streak – A.C. Green was basketball’s ironman equivalent of Cal Ripken, Jr., playing in an amazing 1,192 straight games. The man in second place, Randy Smith, played in 906 consecutive games, which is a difference of three-and-a-half seasons. In other words, it’s not even close.
Wilt Chamberlain’s 20+ Point Game Streak – Not that it’s a surprise that Wilt Chamberlain would hold a record (because he holds most of them, it seems like), but when it comes to streaks, Chamberlain had a few impressive ones over the course of his career. One of those was his streak of 126 games in which he scored 20 or more points. Of course, he also holds the record for most consecutive 30+ point games (65), 40+ point games (14), and 50+ point games (7), none of which seem likely to be broken any time soon.
Most Consecutive Scoring Titles – Chamberlain shares this record with Michael Jordan. Both legendary players led the league in scoring for seven straight seasons.
Most Consecutive Triple-Doubles – Wilt again, with 9 in a row. In today’s NBA, three in a row would make major news. Four would be legendary. Nine is unfathomable.
Boston’s Consecutive Championship Streak – Under Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics won a ridiculous 8 championships in a row between 1959 and 1966, which is the most outrageous consecutive championships streak in the history of professional team sports. As hard as it is to win two rings in a row in today’s era, this streak will never even approach contention in any sport.
L.A. Lakers Win Streak – This is the most important one to put what Miami is doing into perspective. Yes, 17 wins in a row is impressive, but the longest winning streak in NBA history belongs to the 1971-1972 L.A. Lakers, who won 33 straight games, essentially double what Miami has done this year. That was a Wilt Chamberlain/Jerry West/Elgin Baylor team, which helps explain the dominance. How’s that for a “Big Three”?
Miami has done some pretty incredible things this year, and this 17-game win streak has been one of the year’s biggest storylines. But it’s not an NBA record just yet, and the Indiana Pacers, who have already beat the HEAT twice this season, look to stop the streak on Sunday evening.
But if they win that game, what’s to stop them from rattling over another 16 and stealing the record away? That’s the beauty of streaks—you just never know when they’re going to end—and that’s why it’s so important to enjoy them while they’re active. Even Wilt Chamberlain had a bad game eventually.
Orlando Johnson Coming Along in Indiana
A lot of highly-touted NBA prospects come from respected major collegiate programs, mostly because that’s where the majority of the best high school players end up. Take a look at this year’s McDonald’s High School All-American roster, for example, and look at how many choose schools like Kentucky and Duke and North Carolina versus, say, Loyola Marymount or the University of California Santa Barbara.
But those are the two schools that Indiana Pacers rookie Orlando Johnson attended over the course of his college career, and that made it challenging at times to get NBA scouts to notice him.
“It was challenging because I had to go through a lot,” Johnson said. “Everybody else got a lot of exposure, but for me I had to show I was the hardest worker. That’s what it was going to take to get a chance to play in the NBA, so when I went up against the bigger schools I had to really try to show out.”
That’s how it went for him throughout his college career. As a freshman at Loyola Marymount, Johnson had a respectable season, but when his coach left at end of the year he decided to transfer to UCSB. Of course, that meant sitting out a year, but by the time he hit the floor again for his junior season, Johnson was proving himself as one of the country’s better scorers, and he did enough as a senior there to get the attention of the Pacers, who traded for his second-round rights last summer.
It hasn’t been an easy adjustment to the NBA for Johnson, however. He struggled in Summer League and early in the regular season, but has since become much more productive. Johnson says those early struggles were more lack of opportunity than nerves.
“We’re a deep team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys at my position, so I knew I wasn’t going to play a lot right away. So I had to come in and work, work, work as hard as I could to try and get into that rotation. I got an opportunity one night and made the most of it, and luckily Coach has kept me in there.”
Johnson thinks he’s seen “huge growth” in himself this season, something for which he credits his veteran teammates.
“I’ve dealt with some great leaders on this team that have been pushing me and encouraging me to get better, telling me that my time would come, and then to make the most of it when it came,” he said, adding that these leaders have walked him through the adjustment to the NBA.
“They’ve shown me how to conduct myself at this level… Being on time, making sure I’m putting in enough work, and always being ready to go,” he said.
But all rookies have helpful veterans. At the end of the day, young players only get better because they have the will and desire to do so. That’s where Johnson’s head seems to be as his first season with the Pacers winds down, and even though the Pacers have a great chance to go deep into this year’s postseason, Johnson is also already thinking about how much work he’ll do once the summer hits.
“I’m going to keep improving. I’ll keep getting better,” he said. “I’m going to take my game to the next level, and that’s what I’m looking forward to this offseason is just keep working and keep getting better.”
It’s what he had to do when playing for smaller university hoops programs while trying to get noticed by NBA teams, and it’s what he’ll do moving forward as a pro. It’s not easy for young players from mid-major programs, but Johnson wants to be a success story. That hard work, as it always has been, is his best bet at becoming one.Cast Your Vote: Click here and Tweet #players name and the hash tag #dunkuary