The teams that dominate the regular usually go on to rule the playoffs and in most cases, win the NBA title.

However, there have been teams in the history of the league who played spectacular during the regular season and didn’t end up winning the NBA championship during that year. The team which had the best regular-season ever in the NBA is one of the best teams that didn’t win the NBA title.

In this article, we will list down the five best regular-season teams that were not able to complete the task and win the NBA title during their dominant season:

Basketball 1. 2015-16 Golden State Warriors

  • 73-9 Regular Season Record

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors were a winning machine from Day One of the season. They set the record for most wins during a single season with 73 and were one win away from winning the 2016 NBA title, and a second straight for their city. But then it happened.

The Warriors had a spectacular regular season with Stephen Curry being named as unanimous MVP. Klay Thompson was having a sensational shooting season while Draymond Green was dominating on defense. This team was so good that most of their games were won even before the fourth quarter started.

But after establishing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to send the series to a deciding Game 7. In that game, Kyrie Irving famously nailed a difficult three-pointer to give the Cavs the lead for good. LeBron James had that incredible chase-down block that sealed the Cavaliers’ remarkable comeback and their first NBA title.

Basketball 2. 1971-72 Milwaukee Bucks

  • 63-19 Regular Season Record

The 1971-72 Milwaukee Bucks had everything, well except the NBA title at the end of the season. This team boasted of a defense led by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bob Dandridge, and Lucius Allen. The offense was led by Oscar Robertson and Jabbar with three other players in Dandridge, Allen and Josh McGlocklin also scoring in double figures. Unfortunately, the Bucks were still in the Western Conference during this era and they were bracketed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

There are many instances in the NBA’s history when more than one dominant team existed during the season. Such was the case here. The Bucks had a dominant regular season but so did the Lakers. L.A. finished the season at 69-13 and this team boasted the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Elgin Baylor. To cut the story short, the Bucks were great but the Lakers were better.

Milwaukee outscored Los Angeles 636-622 in total points scored during their Western Conference championship showdown. But the Lakers won the series 4-2 and they went on to beat the Knicks to win the 1972 NBA championship.

Basketball 3. 1994-95 Orlando Magic

  • 57-25 Regular Season Record

The 1994-95 Orlando Magic had everything going for them. Shaquille O’Neal dominated the NBA with a 29.3 point scoring clip. Second-year guard Anfernee Hardaway was named to the All-Star team along with Shaq and the team signed free agents Horace Grant and Brian Shaw gave the team an impressive team that was ready to rule the Eastern Conference.

Orlando finished the regular season with a record of 57-25, the best record in the East. Out West, the Spurs had the best record in the NBA at 60-22 while the Phoenix Suns came in next at 59-23. But the Suns were ambushed by the 6th seeded defending champions Houston Rockets while the Spurs lost to the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. The Magic went all the way to the Finals but were blanked by Houston in the Finals.

The Magic had the home-court advantage and looked to be headed to a Game 1 victory after a strong effort from Shaq and Penny. However, Nick Anderson missed four straight free throws that allowed Kenny Smith to hit a game-tying three-pointer that sent the game to overtime. In the OT period, Olajuwon tipped in a missed layup from Clyde Drexler with 0.3 left on the clock. Houston stole Game 1 and then proceeded to sweep a discouraged Magic team.

Basketball 4. 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 66-16 Regular Season Record

The 2008-09 Cavaliers was the best performing team that LeBron James was a part of during his first tour of duty with his hometown Cavs. James had his best season to date and the Cavs finished with their best regular-season record ever. The Cavs had the best record in the league and they swept their way through the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, they ran into Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

LeBron had the fifty best individual regular season since 1973 and although his supporting cast was mediocre, they had enough talent to help James carry the team to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, Howard and the Magic overwhelmed them and the Cavs would lose 2-4 to the Magic in the Conference Finals.

James was playing at a different level. However, his teammates could not provide him enough support to push them over the Magic. James averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.0 assists while knocking down 48.7% of his shots from the field. Mo Williams contributed 18 points per game but outside the two of them, there wasn’t much. On defense, their bigs weren’t able to contain Howard who had a big series for the Magic.

Basketball 5. 2012-13 Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 60-22 Regular Season Record

The 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder was a star-studded team that had three future MVPs playing together. But after trading James Harden during the offseason, the Thunder got better the following year. The team had a record of 60-22, the best in the West and they only trailed the Miami Heat for the best record in the league. Miami had its Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, so OKC had a great season.

Durant and Westbrook continued to improve during this season. They were surrounded by a very capable supporting cast led by Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. Nick Collison, Kevin Martin, and Reggie Jackson were sparks off their bench. The team however lost Westbrook to a season-ending injury in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Houston Rockets.

Without Westbrook, Durant tried to carry the team on his shoulders. They were able to survive the Rockets in Round One but the Thunder were outplayed and outhustled by the Grizzlies and lost the series 1-4. The Spurs ended up advancing to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Miami Heat in a thrilling seven-game series.

  • 1993-94 Seattle SuperSonics
  • 2011-12 Chicago Bulls
  • 1996-97 Utah Jazz
  • 1984-85 Boston Celtics

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