NBA

The '72 Lakers, Jordan's Bulls & the 73-win Warriors - the NBA's best regular season records

By Sports Desk March 26, 2020

It is 48 years to the day since the Los Angeles Lakers set a new NBA benchmark with 69 regular-season wins.

Bill Sharman's Lakers routed the Seattle Supersonics to end the year with a 69-13 record and the best win percentage (.841) posted by a team.

The stunning Los Angeles season bettered the Philadelphia 76ers' mark from five years earlier, although the Chicago Bulls and then the Golden State Warriors have since set the standard.

The Warriors' record will stand for at least another year, too, with the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks faltering following Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury.

With the campaign now paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at the teams and seasons that led the way.
 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: 1966-67 - 68-13 (.840)

Since the Washington Capitols ended the first 60-game NBA season with a 49-11 record in 1946-47, no team had been able to post a regular-season win percentage of .800 or above - until the Sixers.

Philadelphia dominated from start to finish in 1966-67, led by MVP Wilt Chamberlain. The campaign was the first and only to include 81 games, adding another to make the existing 82-game schedule the following year, and the Sixers finished eight games clear of a strong Boston Celtics outfit in the East.

Chamberlain was the only Philly player to make the All-NBA First Team, but the Sixers' depth made them one of the greats, and they ended the year as champions with an NBA Finals success against the San Francisco Warriors.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: 1971-72 - 69-13 (.841)

With an extra game to play with, it did not take the Lakers too long to edge past the Sixers. And Chamberlain was again the star.

After leaving the Sixers in 1968, Chamberlain was outstanding once again in his penultimate season in the league, while Jerry West - whose silhouette graced a new NBA logo that remains to this day - also impressed.

Chamberlain refused to compare LA to his Philadelphia team after breaking the record, but they ultimately matched the Sixers by claiming the championship, with the veteran the Finals MVP against the New York Knicks.

CHICAGO BULLS: 1995-96 - 72-10 (.878)

It took 24 years and arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport to break the Lakers' record. Michael Jordan lifted the Bulls to the first ever 70-win season in 1995-96.

Playing his first full season back following his initial retirement, there was still no stopping Jordan as he kickstarted the Bulls' second run of three straight championships.

The guard was the MVP, the league's leading scorer and then the Finals MVP, while Chicago finished 12 games clear of the Orlando Magic.

They only lost three more games in the playoffs, too, sweeping the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals before beating the Seattle Supersonics to take the title.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: 2015-16 - 73-9 (.890)

Only two teams have ever broken the 70-win barrier, but the second, the Warriors, remarkably could not follow up their regular-season success with the title.

Golden State won three championships over a four-year stretch but could not get the job done against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals in 2016.

The Warriors' stunning regular-season efforts overshadowed an impressive 67-win San Antonio Spurs campaign, with Stephen Curry the MVP and top scorer, but the NBA's outstanding team went down to the Cavs in Game Seven.

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