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BBR Mailbag: Best Records After the All-Star Break

Posted by Neil Paine on March 24, 2011

Today we have a big data dump thanks to this question from Ifeanyi:

"If the LA Lakers win the rest of their 11 games this season, that'll give them a 24-1 post all-star break record. My question to you is, what is the NBA's all time best record for regular season games played after the break?"

Including 2011 to date, here are the all-time best W-L records after the All-Star break:

Rank Team W L WPct PF PA Diff/G
1 2011 Los Angeles Lakers 13 1 0.929 1400 1280 8.57
2 1997 Utah Jazz 31 4 0.886 3789 3373 11.89
3 2000 Los Angeles Lakers 30 4 0.882 3488 3203 8.38
4 1985 Los Angeles Lakers 27 4 0.871 3860 3538 10.39
5 1995 San Antonio Spurs 32 5 0.865 3980 3648 8.97
6 2005 Denver Nuggets 25 4 0.862 3117 2860 8.86
7 1998 Utah Jazz 31 5 0.861 3731 3422 8.58
8 1951 Philadelphia Warriors 6 1 0.857 647 590 8.14
9 1987 Los Angeles Lakers 30 5 0.857 4124 3813 8.89
10 1996 Chicago Bulls 30 5 0.857 3646 3185 13.17
11 1998 Chicago Bulls 28 5 0.848 3290 2981 9.36
12 1989 Detroit Pistons 32 6 0.842 4123 3819 8.00
13 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers 26 5 0.839 3078 2847 7.45
14 1996 Seattle SuperSonics 30 6 0.833 3833 3501 9.22
15 1992 Chicago Bulls 28 6 0.824 3703 3327 11.06
16 2010 Orlando Magic 23 5 0.821 2963 2632 11.82
17 1968 Philadelphia 76ers 27 6 0.818 4163 3790 11.30
18 2003 San Antonio Spurs 27 6 0.818 3280 3046 7.09
19 1980 Los Angeles Lakers 22 5 0.815 3110 2884 8.37
20 1993 New York Knickerbockers 26 6 0.813 3275 3076 6.22
Rank Team W L WPct PF PA Diff/G
21 2011 Chicago Bulls 13 3 0.813 1584 1386 12.38
22 1975 Boston Celtics 34 8 0.810 4426 4151 6.55
23 1985 Milwaukee Bucks 25 6 0.806 3612 3343 8.68
24 1993 Houston Rockets 25 6 0.806 3271 3011 8.39
25 2003 Sacramento Kings 25 6 0.806 3210 2984 7.29
26 1973 Boston Celtics 29 7 0.806 4011 3830 5.03
27 1986 Boston Celtics 29 7 0.806 4153 3765 10.78
28 1991 Chicago Bulls 29 7 0.806 4023 3622 11.14
29 2011 Houston Rockets 12 3 0.800 1627 1501 8.40
30 1982 Boston Celtics 31 8 0.795 4426 4202 5.74
31 1997 Chicago Bulls 27 7 0.794 3546 3224 9.47
32 2002 San Antonio Spurs 27 7 0.794 3273 3019 7.47
33 1960 Boston Celtics 23 6 0.793 3678 3394 9.79
34 2007 Dallas Mavericks 23 6 0.793 2906 2705 6.93
35 2007 San Antonio Spurs 23 6 0.793 2868 2564 10.48
36 2010 Phoenix Suns 23 6 0.793 3215 2941 9.45
37 1963 Boston Celtics 30 8 0.789 4589 4311 7.32
38 2004 Los Angeles Lakers 25 7 0.781 3193 3026 5.22
39 2008 Boston Celtics 25 7 0.781 3253 2932 10.03
40 1951 Rochester Royals 7 2 0.778 868 791 8.56
Rank Team W L WPct PF PA Diff/G
41 1972 Los Angeles Lakers 28 8 0.778 4333 3956 10.47
42 1977 Chicago Bulls 21 6 0.778 2796 2619 6.56
43 1990 Los Angeles Lakers 28 8 0.778 4039 3848 5.31
44 1971 Milwaukee Bucks 31 9 0.775 4718 4281 10.93
45 1986 Milwaukee Bucks 24 7 0.774 3548 3275 8.81
46 1968 Los Angeles Lakers 27 8 0.771 4352 4049 8.66
47 1990 Chicago Bulls 27 8 0.771 3862 3659 5.80
48 2001 San Antonio Spurs 27 8 0.771 3399 3078 9.17
49 1980 Milwaukee Bucks 20 6 0.769 3014 2727 11.04
50 1983 Phoenix Suns 23 7 0.767 3293 3121 5.73
51 2006 San Antonio Spurs 23 7 0.767 2920 2682 7.93
52 2008 Houston Rockets 23 7 0.767 2953 2726 7.57
53 2009 Los Angeles Lakers 23 7 0.767 3118 2924 6.47
54 2010 Dallas Mavericks 23 7 0.767 3098 2964 4.47
55 1996 Orlando Magic 26 8 0.765 3662 3358 8.94
56 1967 Philadelphia 76ers 29 9 0.763 4765 4481 7.47
57 1967 Boston Celtics 32 10 0.762 5122 4823 7.12
58 2004 Indiana Pacers 22 7 0.759 2729 2524 7.07
59 2004 San Antonio Spurs 22 7 0.759 2726 2477 8.59
60 1987 Atlanta Hawks 28 9 0.757 4078 3763 8.51
Rank Team W L WPct PF PA Diff/G
61 1994 Seattle SuperSonics 28 9 0.757 3963 3670 7.92
62 1996 San Antonio Spurs 28 9 0.757 3837 3591 6.65
63 1975 Washington Bullets 31 10 0.756 4328 3993 8.17
64 1966 Philadelphia 76ers 30 10 0.750 4621 4387 5.85
65 2004 Detroit Pistons 21 7 0.750 2556 2241 11.25
66 2005 Phoenix Suns 21 7 0.750 3103 2944 5.68
67 2000 Utah Jazz 26 9 0.743 3427 3232 5.57
68 2003 Los Angeles Lakers 26 9 0.743 3628 3478 4.29
69 2005 Dallas Mavericks 23 8 0.742 3168 2968 6.45
70 1959 Boston Celtics 20 7 0.741 3312 3118 7.19
71 1982 Philadelphia 76ers 28 10 0.737 4285 4026 6.82
72 1961 Boston Celtics 25 9 0.735 4098 3969 3.79
73 1972 Milwaukee Bucks 25 9 0.735 3903 3623 8.24
74 1986 Los Angeles Lakers 25 9 0.735 3897 3711 5.47
75 1991 Houston Rockets 25 9 0.735 3592 3432 4.71
76 1995 Utah Jazz 25 9 0.735 3598 3367 6.79
77 1997 Charlotte Hornets 25 9 0.735 3489 3332 4.62
78 1997 Houston Rockets 25 9 0.735 3471 3267 6.00
79 1997 Miami Heat 25 9 0.735 3304 3094 6.18
80 1993 Chicago Bulls 22 8 0.733 3160 2925 7.83
Rank Team W L WPct PF PA Diff/G
81 2007 Phoenix Suns 22 8 0.733 3280 3059 7.37
82 2008 Los Angeles Lakers 22 8 0.733 3333 3065 8.93
83 2009 Portland Trail Blazers 22 8 0.733 3011 2757 8.47
84 2011 Denver Nuggets 11 4 0.733 1613 1438 11.67
85 2011 San Antonio Spurs 11 4 0.733 1563 1515 3.20
86 1998 Los Angeles Lakers 27 10 0.730 3842 3554 7.78
87 1973 Milwaukee Bucks 24 9 0.727 3607 3391 6.55
88 1990 Detroit Pistons 24 9 0.727 3470 3257 6.45
89 1992 Utah Jazz 24 9 0.727 3595 3299 8.97
90 2002 Sacramento Kings 24 9 0.727 3467 3201 8.06
91 1980 Boston Celtics 21 8 0.724 3369 3126 8.38
92 1981 Milwaukee Bucks 21 8 0.724 3360 3126 8.07
93 1983 San Antonio Spurs 21 8 0.724 3415 3252 5.62
94 2009 Houston Rockets 21 8 0.724 2857 2679 6.14
95 2010 Miami Heat 21 8 0.724 2795 2653 4.90
96 1989 Phoenix Suns 26 10 0.722 4345 3934 11.42
97 1990 Portland Trail Blazers 26 10 0.722 4190 3955 6.53
98 1964 Boston Celtics 31 12 0.721 4799 4539 6.05
99 1984 Boston Celtics 28 11 0.718 4324 4094 5.90
100 1988 Denver Nuggets 28 11 0.718 4563 4381 4.67

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20 Responses to “BBR Mailbag: Best Records After the All-Star Break”

  1. yariv Says:

    I wonder what has stronger correlation to playoff success, all-season record or "after All-Star record". I expect the former, but my impression is that most people believe the latter. Neil, can you run something like this?

    The top ten contain 5 non-champions, top 20 contain 10 (although one might argue the 51 warriors shouldn't be there due to small sample).

  2. P Middy Says:

    look at the 97 Jazz. Back when the All Star break was actually played at the halfway point.

  3. Kelly Says:

    I love the premise of the question, "If the Lakers win their last 11 games"

    Uhm, yeah.

  4. AYC Says:

    Surprise, Magic's Lakers and Jordan's Bulls tended to dominate down the stretch....

  5. Jason J Says:

    The current Bulls are killing it too.

  6. Ben Says:

    Noticed the same thing, Jason J. Scary. Second best Scoring Margin.

  7. Ben Says:

    Current year teams obviously have smaller sample size, but check out where the Nuggets rank too.

  8. Sean Says:

    ^ And the 2011 Rockets too. Small sample size is indeed at play here.

  9. Ed Says:

    @3 The Lakers have a very easy schedule the rest of the way. Only 4 of their last 11 games are on the road and only one of those is against a playoff team (Portland). So it's hardly inconceivable that they win their last 11 games.

  10. Gabe Says:

    Any way to quickly check if any of these teams didn't make the playoffs? Or if they just squeezed in at the end of the season, and otherwise wouldn't have made it if not for their heroic run?

  11. AYC Says:

    Didn't the Rockets miss the playoffs after winning 22 in a row a couple years ago? Pretty sure that happened after the AS break

  12. Will Says:

    AYC,

    That team, the 07-08 Rockets, is #52 on the list. Their streak started in mid-January. Seeded 4th, they made the playoffs but lost to Utah in the first round.

    The western conference that year (and during the mid-late 2000s) had some dominating teams: Denver, at 52-30, only made the 8th seed !

  13. Jason J Says:

    Even if the Lakers don't lose another game, they'll still have twice as many losses as the 1996 Bulls did. That's ridiculous.

  14. false~cognate Says:

    I find it humorous that my favorite team, the Cavs, appear only once on the expansive list. It seems they were paper tigers all these years with LBJ.

  15. Neil Paine Says:

    #14 - Well, they only had two truly dominant seasons in the Lebron era -- 2009, which shows up 13th all-time after the break, and 2010, when they were resting everybody down the stretch.

    Like Yariv suggests in #1, I'd have to run the numbers on how post-break wpct correlates to playoff success, but I don't think Cleveland's absence from this list beyond '09 is somehow evidence they were "paper tigers".

  16. Anonx2 Says:

    What season did the All-Star game get moved so far late in the season?

  17. An Onimous Says:

    Re #10: I know the 2005 Denver Nuggets (#6 on the list) would have missed the playoffs if not for their "heroic" post-all star run. The Nuggets were 17-25 when they fired their coach and hired George Karl, who proceeded to coach the Nuggets (a team well shy of .500) to a 32-8 record in their final 40 games, a run just good enough to earn Denver a #7 seed. He won "coach of the month" in each of the final 3 months of the season, and got serious run for "coach of the year" despite the fact that he didn't even coach half of Denver's games that year. For my money, he should have won it- just like how Cleveland's struggles this year really underscore Lebron's true value, the disparity between Denver's 40% winning percentage without Karl and its 80% winning percentage with him really highlighted just how much of a difference he made to that franchise that year.

  18. ucapt Says:

    @11
    AYC always says something that stupid every post.

  19. lol Says:

    @17, Cleveland's struggles this year indicate the true value of Lebron, Shaq, Z, Varejao who didn't even play half the season, and Delonte. They aren't exactly the same team they were with Lebron.

  20. Cort Says:

    interesting that despite having the most titles with 17, the celtics dont have one of the top 21 2nd half records. suggests that boston may have put more emphasis on the first half historically, and that strong finishes are tied to how tough your schedule and conference/division is. also that such finishes are slightly overrated.
    the 1980s lakers benefited by playing a far FAR weaker west compared to the celtics, 76ers, bucks and pistons of that decade. in general, other than the last decade, the east has boasted more depth.