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DAR Sports: The 15 Greatest NBA Teams Of All Time

By @TrueGodImmortal 

There have been so many great seasons and teams in the NBA over the years, and we just witnessed some history as the Golden State Warriors became the greatest regular season team in NBA history with an amazing 73-9 record. However, the Warriors don't rank as the greatest team of all time. In order to be ranked in the top 3, you have to have a great regular season record and a solid record in the playoffs including a NBA Title to finish the journey. So, yes, the Warriors are on this list (twice), but because they choked and blew a 3-1 lead this past season, they are NOT in the top 2 or 3. I'll explain a little more later on, but I wanted to get that out of the way right now. This list is tough to really format, but I based my criteria on a number of things to help determine the rankings. So, allow me to kick off my list of the top 15 NBA Teams Of All Time.

15. Boston Celtics (2007-2008)
Record: 66-16
NBA Championship



-The beginning of the big three era in Boston. After huge acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics had a trio of those two along with Paul Pierce to led them and turn them around. The Celtics had a horrible season the prior year and they would manage to improve their wins by 41 in order to become a 66 win team, their third highest win total in franchise history. With a supporting cast to the big 3 that featured Rajon Rondo as starting point guard, Sam Cassell, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and more. After securing the no. 1 seed in the East, the Celtics pushed through the playoffs and made the NBA Finals. What earns them their spot on the list is their mostly dominating performance in the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had the MVP, Kobe Bryant on their team of course. The Celtics would take care of the Lakers in 6 games and solidify themselves as one of the best teams in NBA history.

14. Miami Heat (2012-2013)
Record: 66-16
NBA Championship


-Of course, the next big 3 of Wade, Bosh, and Lebron make this list, though if Ray Allen hadn't made that three, they would likely have missed this one. In their third season together, the dynamic trio seemed to get it right in the regular season, going on a huge 27 game winning streak. The dichotomy of the team seemed to gel perfectly and as they got to the playoffs, we saw them breeze through the first two rounds. However, a 7 game series with the Pacers in the Conference Finals tested them, and the NBA Finals should have went to the Spurs, but once again, some rare arrogance on the part of the Spurs and a bad decision to take Tim Duncan out cost the Spurs and a Ray Allen three sent game 6 into OT and the Heat managed to pull it out and a victory to become back to back champions. The team and their dominance up until the past two rounds of the playoffs is what earns them this particular spot.

13. Los Angeles Lakers (2008-2009)
Record: 65-17
NBA Championship


-This is the redemption season for the Lakers and for Kobe. After a rough loss to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals, the Lakers came back with a focus and a healthier Andrew Bynum in the playoffs to boot. The Lakers would go on winning streaks, starting off with a pretty nice 17-2 record, tying their franchise record for the best season start. Kobe would have a great season, putting 61 in Madison Square Garden for a record, lead the Lakers to the 2nd best record in the NBA and the no. 1 seed in the West. In the playoffs, the Lakers seemed to control the pace of the series against the Jazz before running into a tough battle with the Houston Rockets. After a tough 7 game series win, the Lakers would take out Carmelo and the Nuggets in the Conference Finals in a tough 6 game victory before dominating the Orlando Magic in a 5 game series to cement history and their NBA Championship.

12. Detroit Pistons (1988-1989)
Record: 63-19
NBA Championship


-There was absolutely no way I could leave out the Bad Boys. This was the apex of the era for the Pistons. After a tough loss the year prior to the Lakers in a 7 game series (my personal all time favorite Finals series), they came back the following season and got more dominant than expected. While their regular season record isn't as spectacular as some of the others, this team was truly one of the best and most exciting teams to watch. Full of toughness and tenacity, the Pistons were in their Bad Boys glory, as 6 players on the team average double figures, and despite a mid season trade of Adrian Dantley for Mark Aguirre, the chemistry never changed. In the playoffs, after a sweep of the Celtics and Bucks, the Pistons seemed almost unable to stop Michael Jordan in the first three games of the Conference Finals, before the Jordan Rules came into play. The Pistons would win 3 straight games to advance to the NBA Finals for the 2nd straight year and in a rematch from the previous year with the Lakers. The Pistons would easily sweep the Lakers to win the NBA Title, earning a spot on this list. The Bad Boys were unstoppable in the late 80's.

11. Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1971)
Record: 66-16 
NBA Championship


-This team was something special. In only their third year of existence, with Kareem Abdul Jabbar in his 2nd year of playing, the Bucks became a truly dominant team in the league and put up a huge 66-16 record in the regular season. With a huge 20 game winning streak, which was the longest ever at the time in history, the Bucks coasted to the playoffs and made quick work of all competitors in the playoffs, sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals. Though this was so many years ago, the importance of this season is still relevant and the Bucks had to make this list. Their dominance was hard to ignore. Hands down one of the best seasons we witnessed (or that occurred at least).

10. Golden State Warriors (2014-2015)
Record: 67-15
NBA Championship


-I don't think history gives this Warriors team enough credit yet. Maybe once people get some of what feels like hate out of their soul for this elite Warriors team, they would understand why this season is in the top 10. Their regular season record was pretty impressive for a team with a first year coach, and the players on this team just worked together so well to make great things happen. Stephen Curry emerged as the official team leader, putting up almost 24.0 PPG a game and leading them to the no. 1 record in the NBA, garnering his first MVP award. As the playoffs began, the Warriors seemed ready for anything. They made quick work of the Pelicans in a sweep, dealt with a small tough challenge from the Grizzlies, then decimated the Rockets to make the NBA Finals. After 3 close games to start the Finals, the Warriors gained control of the series and beat the Cavaliers in 6 games to win their first NBA Title in 40 years. This team was really the embodiment of their slogan "Strength in Numbers" and they were just too unstoppable all season long, earning their spot on this list.

9. Chicago Bulls (1991-1992)
Record: 67-15
NBA Championship


-The 2nd title in the Bulls first three-peat was pretty amazing. The Bulls had affirmed themselves as the top team in the East and in the NBA, and as the regular season came to a close, the Bulls seemed primed to possibly repeat as champs. Well, after a pretty easy series victory over Miami Heat in the first round, the Bulls were pushed to the limit in the semifinals by the Knicks in a 7 game back and forth series. After eliminating the Knicks, the Bulls were pushed to the max by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 6 game series in the Conference Finals, then moved on to the Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls would be pushed to the limit too with the Blazers, but pull out a victory to get the 2nd straight title and solidify their ranking on this particular list.

8. Los Angeles Lakers (1999-2000)
Record: 67-15
NBA Championship


-I loved this Lakers team. Led by MVP Shaquille O'Neal and the rising star Kobe Bryant, the Lakers were a force to be reckoned with. After working to get the chemistry together for the first few seasons, Kobe and Shaq would be electric together this year finishing with the best record in the West and the entire NBA. The most underrated part of this team to me has to be Glen Rice, as his contributions to this team tend to go slept on. Regardless, as the playoffs started, the Lakers seemed primed to get back to championship glory. After a tough 5 game challenge from the Kings in the first round, the Lakers made easy work of the Suns before a heavy challenge from the Blazers. After a tough 7 game series with the Blazers, the Lakers took on the Pacers in the Finals, cementing the return to greatness for LA with a championship and beginning their three-peat earning the spot on this list.

7. Philadelphia 76ers (1982-1983)
Record: 65-17
NBA Championship


-This 76ers team was epic. With the acquisition of Moses Malone, they had an unstoppable team with Dr. J, Mo Cheeks, Bobby Jones and the rest of the roster that led them to the best record in the NBA that season. They were an exciting them to watch and they were certainly one of the more dominant teams in NBA history in the playoffs as they would sweep the Knicks in the first round, annihilate the Bucks in 5 games, and take on the Showtime Lakers in the Finals. With the league MVP in Moses Malone and a team leader in Dr. J, the Sixers would sweep the Lakers in the Finals to cap off an amazing season and become the NBA Champions. Their dominance is what has them so high on this list.

6. Los Angeles Lakers (1986-1987)
Record: 65-17
NBA Championship


-The Showtime Lakers were something beyond special. What sticks out about this season was that it was near the end of their massive run. As the Showtime Era was in the later years, the Lakers would give their all in their last big run over the next few years, beginning here. With Magic Johnson winning the MVP Award during the regular season, the Lakers would secure the no. 1 record in the NBA and go to the playoffs looking like a sure winner, even though the defending champion Celtics were just as focused as the year prior. What followed was the Lakers dominating in the playoffs, as they would defeat the Nuggets, Warriors, and Seattle easily and heading to the Finals to take on the defending champ Celtics. They'd control most of the series and win in 6 games, culminating the journey of the Showtime Lakers and planting the seeds for back to back titles and 3 straight Finals appearances. This was the final prime of the Showtime Lakers and this is where it began.

5. Golden State Warriors (2015-2016)
Record: 73-9 
Lost In NBA Finals 


-Let's be clear: the Warriors are still the greatest regular season team in NBA history and the greatest team to never win a NBA Championship. If they would have won the title this year, they would firmly be in the no. 2 spot behind the Bulls, who are impossible to beat. There will not be a better team than that Bulls team from 1995-1996, but this Warriors team was OH so close. One win away from history. The list of records they broke all matter, but are insignificant now in some way. The fact that they broke so many records is what gets them a top 5 spot..... but the fact they choked and lost it all when they were only one game away is what takes them from a top 3 spot. As far as the stats, we can't take anything away from the Warriors in the regular season. Steph Curry was out of this world, Klay Thompson was amazing, Draymond Green was at his best, and their bench was solid. Now, as they finished their regular season, many thought they would choke in the playoffs. After an easy win over the Rockets in the first round, Steph got hurt and fatigue started to kick in for the rest of the team. After a virtually easy victory over the Blazers in the 2nd round, the Warriors got outplayed by the Thunder in the Conference Finals. The Warriors were down 3-1 and made a push to defeat them and win in 7 games. Heading into the Finals, fatigue seemed like it was taking a toll on the stars of the team, and games 1 and 2 were soundly won by the Warriors over the Cavs without big contributions from Steph or Klay. Game 4 saw Steph wake up some, but it was obvious the Warriors weren't 100% and the lost of Andrew Bogut in game 5 almost sealed their fate. The momentum shifted and they could not regroup and epic performances from Lebron and Kyrie were too much and though the Warriors fought until the end, they came up short where it mattered most. They have one of the greatest seasons and teams ever, and they have to be top 5, but without the championship, they don't get to be top 2 or 3. Period.

4. Boston Celtics (1985-1986)
Record: 67-15
NBA Championship



-This Celtics team was beyond special. The 68 win team from the 70's would have made this list, but there's no way to put a team on this greatest list if you missed the Finals, regardless of record. It's one thing to make the Finals and lose in a tough series(like the Warriors), it's another to miss the Finals completely. Luckily for the Celtics in this season, they didn't have either one of those problems. Larry Bird was the regular season MVP yet again and he ended up leading his team to the playoffs and the best record during the regular season. The playoffs proved to be an easy walk as they swept the Bulls (though Jordan was exploding on offense, he just had little help), steamed beyond the Hawks and the Bucks, and took care of the up and coming Houston Rockets in 6 games. The title win and the overall display of dominance solidified them as one of the greatest teams ever witnessed, and I've heard people say this Celtics team is top 2, which I'm sure there's an argument for them. However, they are top 5 in my book and that likely won't change anytime soon.

3. Chicago Bulls (1996-1997)
Record: 69-13
NBA Championship 



-This honestly should have been a better season than the 1995-1996 one. I think the Bulls were slightly better in a way this season, but without Pippen early on in the season due to injury, they struggled earlier. Had they not struggled very early in the season, they would have had two 70 win seasons in a row and possible a better record than the 72-10 record, but regardless, this team was out of this world as far as dominance. On the defensive end, the Bulls were immaculate, and offensively they were a force to be reckoned with. After a great regular season and Jordan being robbed of yet another MVP award (Karl Malone should have been the runner up, much like Barkley should have been runner up in 1993), the Bulls set their sights on winning big in the playoffs to go back to back. They swept the Bullets, beat the Hawks, and made easy work of the Heat before meeting the Jazz and the MVP Malone in the Finals. This Finals series is an epic one as both teams brought out their best and includes the infamous Flu Game in game 5. Also, Jordan hitting the game winning shot in the final seconds of game 1 to win was one of the most underrated moments in NBA Finals history. All in all, the Bulls had the 2nd best season of the last 40 years, and they also possess the best.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (1971-1972)
Record: 69-13
NBA Championship


-33 game winning streak. The best record in NBA history for 24 seasons. The Lakers were a dominant team and likely the greatest franchise in NBA history, and this was one of the biggest shining moments for the franchise. Wilt, Elgin, Jerry West and the rest of the team were virtually unstoppable in the regular season. They were also seeking redemption after losing to the Knicks in 1970 for the NBA Title, missing the Finals in 1971, and losing Jerry West to a season ending injury. After they got to the playoffs, it seemed as if they were smooth sailing mostly, and when they got back to the Finals for another shot at redemption against those same Knicks that beat them, the Lakers didn't disappoint. The Lakers lost game 1 and seemed like they might fold, but this was a different team. They would come back and win four straight and Wilt would win Finals MVP. With so many Hall of Famers on this team and such a dominant presence, this is the 2nd greatest team of all time.

1. Chicago Bulls(1995-1996)
Record: 72-10
NBA Championship 



-There's no other choice. Don't get me wrong, I think these other teams were great, but when you played at the level that the Bulls did, with the type of teams they had as competition, it's absolutely impossible to go 72-10 in this era, but this Bulls team pulled it off. They were almost flawless throughout the run and showcased that pure dominance that NBA Teams need in order to create a dynasty. After their amazing regular season, the Bulls would end up heading to the playoffs to try and return to championship glory. That proved to be an interesting task for them, as they plowed through competition like the Heat, Knicks, and Magic without barely breaking a sweat. However, when faced against the Sonics in the Finals, they were pushed a bit to the limit, but made easy work of them in 6 games to begin their 2nd dynasty and win the championship. This is the greatest team of all time and I don't think it's even close. The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls are the GOAT. That's it.

-True 

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