As the 53-5 Golden State Warriors continue to launch their assault on the record for the best regular season record in NBA history, Too Good Tuesday relives the hallowed performances of the current top five.
5. 1972-73 Boston Celtics – 68-14 (.829)
The only side on this list that did not go on to win the NBA Championship in their record-breaking season, the Celtics finished a mere one win shy of the Lakers’ mark set only the previous year. Boston, champions 11 times between 1957 and 1969, had the great John Havlicek and emerging superstars Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens on deck, but lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Knicks in seven games.
4. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers – 68-13 (.840)
With MVP Wilt Chamberlain in irrepressible form, the 76ers destroyed the existing record for the best regular season in NBA history – 49-11 by the 1946-47 Washington Capitols. The 76ers went on to clinch their second championship with a 4-2 result against Golden State in the Finals. Their 46-4 start was equalled this year by the Warriors as the best 50-game start in NBA history.
2. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls – 69-13 (.841)
The Bulls came up just short of back-to-back 70-win seasons after going 1-3 in the final four games, but nevertheless powered to the second title of their famed three-peat. The Bulls had a 39-2 home record, before ultimately downing the Jazz in six games in the finals. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were named in the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team that season.
2. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers – 69-13 (.841)
With an extra game in their schedule, the Lakers eclipsed the 76ers’ hallowed record – with Chamberlain, who joined the side in 1968, again instrumental in a record-breaking campaign. The Lakers also had Jerry West and Elgin Baylor on their roster, and defeated the Knicks in five games in the Finals.
1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls – 72-10 (.878)
The 1985-86 Celtics and 1991-92 Bulls had come within two games of the Lakers’ record, but the 1995-96 Bulls came to be regarded as arguably the greatest team in NBA history by smashing the 70-win threshold. With Jordan, Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley and Ron Harper forming an unstoppable combination, the Bulls lost just one playoff game on their way to the Finals, where they subdued the Seattle Supersonics in six.