10 Most Dominant Single-Season Stretches in the NBA of All Time
LeBron James has embodied dominance all season long to the point where we often forget there are other players and teams who've put forth overwhelmingly demonstrative efforts in the past.
From consecutive championships to boisterous point-totals to James' own foul-less extravaganza, the NBA is littered with stretches of absolute dominance.
In addition to James, we've been treated to the stylings of other league greats like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and even Wilt Chamberlain.
Together, these legends (among others) have provided us with some of the most illustrious feats the game has ever seen. And we're not just talking about seasonal accolades either, but streaks of epic proportions.
Which players and teams have treated us to the most domineering single-season performances of all-time?
The Association is no stranger to exalted performances, but some are just so incredulous, they border on absurd.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted.
LeBron James' No Harm, No Foul Fiesta (2012-13)
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LeBron James can do it all.
He passes, score and he might even be able to fly for all we know. Oh, and he can also play defsense for 254 minutes and seven seconds without committing a foul as well.
James went the better part of December without committing a personal foul, a stretch that lasted six games.
Though Steve Nash has gone 11 contests without getting whistled for this type of infraction before, LeBron's is more noteworthy because, you know, he's an elite defender.
This span included a bout against the Minnesota Timberwolves in which he blocked four shots and never, in any game, did James log less than 30 minutes. He also grabbed 5.5 rebounds and forced one steal a night over this stretch as well.
We could try to chalk this up to superstars getting preferential treatment if we wanted, but it makes little sense. No superstar could go this long without getting called for a foul just because the refs like them.
Instead, this was just James reminding us why he's currently the best basketball player in the world.
Wilt Chamberlain's 50-Point Outbursts (1961-62)
Photo via netbrawl.com.
You can't pen an article about some of the most dominant streaks in NBA history and not include Wilt Chamberlain.
To me, his most impressive feat, even more so than the 100-point game, came during the 1961-62 season when he scored 50 or more points in seven consecutive games.
Dropping 50-plus points seven times over the course of a career is impressive enough, but in one season is just unheard of—unless you're Chamberlain of course.
That same year, the point-totaling tower also set the record for the most 50-point games in a single-season with 45. In case you're wondering, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant combined for 54 games in which they score 50 or more points over the course of their careers. Chamberlain almost hit that mark in a single-season.
I didn't think so.
The 1961-62 campaign was just Chamberlain being Chamberlain.
Kobe Bryant Rivals Wilt Chamberlain (2006-07)
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So Kobe Bryant didn't match Wilt Chamberlain, but what of it? He came pretty damn close.
March of the 2006-07 campaign saw Kobe score 50-plus points in four straight games. During that span he averaged 41 points on more than 50 percent shooting.
Bryant's streak fell apart when going for number five, yet he still managed to tally 43 points in that one.
Five-game span by Kobe in Mar-2007: 53.6 points, 6.8 rebounds .526 from the field twitter.com/A_RamseyLTSB/s…— Tony Ramsey (@A_RamseyLTSB) February 12, 2013
Performances where players drop 50 or more points are becoming more of a rarity. With super teams whose success is predicated upon statistical sacrifice running rampant, a modern-day streak such as this seems all the more astounding.
I'm not sure we will ever see Wilt's streak of seven consecutive 50-point games broken. Partly because the game is different now, but mostly because if anyone were to, it would have been Kobe in his prime.
Los Angeles Lakers 33 Game Winning Streak (1971-72)
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And you thought the Los Angeles Clippers' 17-game winning streak from this season was impressive.
During the 1971-72 NBA season, the Bill Sharman-coached Lakers posted an immaculate 69-13 record. More impressive than the record itself was the fact that 33 of those 69 victories came in succession.
From the beginning of November in 1971 to mid January of 1972, the Lakers didn't lose. At all.
To date, it remains the longest winning streak in NBA history by a landslide. The Rockets have come the closest since, winning 22 in a row during the 2007-08 campaign.
Oh, and not that it matters (it does), but the Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim McMillian and Gail Goodrich-led Lakers won the championship that season too.
I didn't think so. We wouldn't expect anything less from a convocation that went nearly one-half of a season without losing.
Elvin Hayes' Double-Double Extravaganza (1973-74)
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Elvin Hayes is the man.
Hayes grabbed 55 consecutive doubles-doubles through 1973-74, 54 of which came in a single-season.
Yes, Hayes' 54 hardly compares to the season-long double-double streaks Wilt Chamberlain put up on a yearly basis, but we can't hold him to the same standard. Or anyone for that matter.
If we're going to mention Hayes, though, Kevin Love also deserves one too. He put up a double-double in 53 consecutive games during the 2010-11 season, the longest streak since the ABA and NBA merger of 1976.
Regardless of the scope you're looking at it through, both players' streaks were nothing short of insane. Double-doubles are often taken for granted nowadays, but the difficulty in building a streak such as this one is not to be discounted.
That is, unless your name is Wilt Chamberlain.
Kobe Bryant's Age Is but a Number Campaign (2012-13)
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Chide Kobe Bryant for shooting too much all you want, but he continues to reserve a spot for himself in the record books at 34.
In December of the current 2012-13 crusade, the Black Mamba rattled off 30 points in 10 consecutive games, an NBA record for players over the age of 34. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan are tied for second-most with five straight games of 30-plus points a piece.
Most tended to focus on the Lakers going just 5-5 during Bryant's tear, but in a season where there has been much to cheer in Los Angeles, the Mamba's offensive dominance is still something to smile about.
But you won't catch Kobe smiling. If anything, he's likely scowling because he couldn't find a way to drop 30 (or even 50) in every game this season.
Magic Johnson's Assist Party (1983-1984)
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During the 1983-84 crusade, Magic Johnson was, well, Magical.
He dished out 10 or more assists in 46 straight games, a record that has yet to be broken nearly three decades later.
Rajon Rondo and John Stockton have come the closest to rivaling such unselfish dominance, each having rattled off double-digit assists in 37 consecutive games. As commanding as such accolades were, they still fell short of what Magic was able to do.
Easily one of the most versatile players in the game, Johnson is still worshiped for his incisive passing and superior court-vision.
Of those 46 games, nearly half (21) saw him drop at least 15 dimes. In the interest of adding more clout to this already impressive span, Johnson scored less than 10 points in just seven of these 46 games.
Last time I checked, 39 double-doubles in 46 games ain't too shabby either.
Wilt Chamberlain Forgets How to Miss (1966-67)
Photo via sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
My apologies for those who have grown sick of seeing Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and now Wilt Chamberlain so many times. In my defense, though, they've done some pretty spectacular stuff.
Like Chamberlain's streak of perfection, for instance.
In February of the 1966-67 season, Wilt went 35 consecutive shots without missing. It was a streak that spanned nearly four full games and has yet to be matched.
It's not like Chamberlain wasn't finding ways to score over that stretch either. He averaged 26.8 points during those four games, which I suppose is low for him.
As far as this beam of perfection being matched, I'm not sure it will.
But hey, this is the NBA we're talking about, so I'll never say never.
LeBron James Makes History Again (2012-13)
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By leading the Miami Heat to their most recent victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron James threw himself in the record books.
For six consecutive games, James has scored 30 or more points while shooting 60 percent or better from the field in each contest.
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the only player in NBA history to accomplish such a feat. Adrian Dantley of the Utah Jazz in 1979 and Moses Malone of the Houston Rockets in 1982 dominated at such a pace for five straight games, but their streaks stopped there, James' didn't.
Better yet, this current stretch actual spans six games and counting. If LeBron can continue to play at this torrid pace for a few games, he'll set a new record with each performance.
Even for the best in the world, it doesn't get much better than that.
Michael Jordan's Triple-Double Barrage (1988-89)
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In 1989, a 26-year-old Michael Jordan went all Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA.
His Airness posted 10 triple-doubles in 11 games through March and April of the 1988-89 crusade.
After notching seven consecutive triple-doubles, Jordan fell three bounds shy of an eighth against the Detroit Pistons. He responded by putting up three more in a trio of ensuing games.
Just as unbelievable as Jordan's performances were is the fact that the Chicago Bulls went 5-6 over the course of this stretch.
For me, Jordan's versatile dominance is even more mind-boggling than Wilt Chamberlain's nine straight triple-doubles in March of the 1967-68. Just think, he was a mere three rebounds shy of rolling off 11 in a row and holding the record.
As it stands, MJ's seven consecutive triple-doubles is the second-longest streak in NBA history.
Still, during the 11-game span in which he posted 10, he averaged a whopping 33.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 11.4 assists, in an accomplishment in itself.
So Chamberlain can keep his nine straight triple-doubles, because I'll take Jordan's 10 in 11 every time.