Skip to main content

The magic of a win streak

Wilt-Chamberlain

Entering the 2017-2018 season the Celtics changed 80% of their starting line-up and everyone expected a rough start into the season. Building a team is a long process that requires patience and hard work. To make things worse, five minutes into the season Gordon Hayward went up for a lob from Kyrie Irving, landing awkwardly resulting in an ankle break and his season was over. The end result was a team that has a new primary ball-handler, a rookie and a second-year player in their starting line up. There were rough waters ahead. What happened next caught everyone off guard. From October 20th till November 20th the Celtics refused to lose a game. They racked up 16 straight wins, ranking 4th in franchise history. As the Celtics win streaks showed, these were not blowouts. If they had managed to win on November 20th against the Heat that would've been their 4th straight double-digit comeback.

Let's be real here, the regular season is a grind. A lot of teams don't show up with their 100% every night and that is understandable. Steve Kerr leading one of the most dominant teams in NBA history would look at the schedule and predict ''schedule losses''. That's why these win streaks are so impressive and always imply something special within a team. It can be a chemistry thing, something that creates that extra motivation to show up for every game and prove something (for instance, a new max contract player gets injured in the 5th minute of the season). It can be a consistency in our game that guarantees a minimum that can be expected every night (see San Antonio Spurs). It can also be a new paradigm of playing the game, something the opponent doesn't meet on most nights in the NBA and it requires special preparation the regular-season grind simply does not allow – meet the 2017-2018 Houston Rockets.

Not to oversimplify things, there are a lot of elements that lead to a win streak. You need a little bit of all of the ingredients mentioned above on top of a few All-Star players. But if one thing stands out with the Rockets series is the maximization of Moreyball. Houston's GM is the leader in applying analytics in team-building and with the addition of Chris Paul and PJ Tucker as significant new additions, the Rockets are playing an optimal game. Lots of threes, layups, and free throws are the backbone of their system. Oh yeah, having James Harden also helps.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The Rockets are currently at 17 straight wins. They are competing with Golden State for the no1 seeds and it doesn't seem they plan to slow down anytime soon. They are currently tied at 16th for the longest regular-season win streak in NBA history. Check out the list below and try and guess where will they land!

Rank

Team

Wins

1.

'71-'72 Lakers

33

2.

'14-'15/'15-'16 Warriors

28 (4+24)

3.

'12-'13 Heat

27

4.

'07-'08 Rockets

22

5.

'47-'48/'48-'49 Capitols

20 (5+15)

5.

'70-'71 Bucks

20

7.

'99-'00 Lakers

19

7.

'08-'09 Celtics

19

7.

'13-'14 Spurs

19

7.

'14-'15 Hawks

19

11.

'49-'50/'50-'51 Royals

18 (15+3)

11.

'65-'66/'66-'67 76ers

18 (11+7)

11.

'69-'70 Knicks

18

11.

'81-'82 Celtics

18

11.

'95-'96 Bulls

18

16.

'46-'47 Capitols

17

16.

'59-'60 Celtics

17

16.

'95-'96 Spurs

17

16.

'06-'07 Suns

17

16.

'06-'07 Mavericks

17

16.

'12-'13 Clippers

17

16.

'17-'18 Rockets

17

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose dunks the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic

“This is my nightmare” - Goran Dragic on Derrick Rose's vicious dunk 12 years ago

Dragic has a sense of humor about one of the most memorable dunks in NBA history - “At least I'm on TV all the time.”

Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso

“The NBA told me I couldn’t” — Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso wasn't allowed to switch jersey number

Caruso wanted to honor Bill Russell, but the NBA had a surprising reason not to allow the switch.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and assistant coach Phil Handy

“This man doesn’t work hard all the time” - Lebron James’ work ethic was once questioned by an assistant coach

Phil Handy initially thought LeBron James didn't give his full effort all the time until he witnessed Zero Dark Thirty 23 in the playoffs.

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka talks with forward Jayson Tatum

"S**t, on Twitter, like everybody else." — Jayson Tatum on how he found out about Ime Udoka's suspension

Tatum, who mentioned that he developed a close bond with Udoka, also revealed that he hasn't spoken to his head coach since the suspension was reported.