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Top 10 Teams In NBA History With 60+ Wins That Didn't Win Championships

Top 10 Teams in NBA History With 60+ Wins That Didn't Win A Championship

No matter how spectacular a team is during the regular season, it is no guarantee that they will go ahead to lift the NBA championship. Nonetheless, an impressive regular season display will give you an idea of what team stands a great chance of hoisting the famed Larry O'Brien trophy after all is said and done.

Several teams have had 60+ wins in the season but failed to make deep enough runs to reach the NBA Finals. The 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs come to mind when thinking of one such team. They finished the season with a 67-15 record but crashed out of the playoffs after six games in the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Shockingly, they did not have the best win-loss record in the league that year.

The 2010-11 Chicago Bulls also deserve honorable mention following their 62-20 run that season. Led by MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals but lost to the Miami Heat super team composed of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

That said, here are the top ten teams in NBA history with 60+ wins who failed to win a championship.


10. 2018-19 Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Khris Middleton

Stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

Best Role Players: Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Pat Connaughton

Regular Season Record: 60-22

Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals (Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors 2-4)

Since the 2002-03 season, the Milwaukee Bucks either missed the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round and the management wanted a different result. After eight coach changes in fifteen years, Mike Budenholzer was brought in as the new head coach.

In his first season, Mike led the Bucks to a 60-22 finish, clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the star of the show, earning the 2019 MVP award and making the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

The Bucks continued their dominance in the playoffs, sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the first round. Despite losing Game 1 of the conference semi-finals against the Boston Celtics, they won the next four games to close the series. Unfortunately, their time in the playoffs came to an end after Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors won the Eastern Conference finals in six games. The Raptors were the eventual NBA champions after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.


9. 2016-17 San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard Spurs

Stars: Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker

Best Role Players: Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills

Regular Season Record: 61-21

Playoffs: Western Conference Finals (San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors 0-4)

The San Antonio Spurs won the 2014 NBA championship, and since then fought hard to win another one. The core of the championship squad was intact, except the legendary Tim Duncan, who retired after the 2015-16 season.

A 61-21 record helped the Spurs clinch the second seed in the West, behind the 67-15 Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge was Duncan's replacement, and he did a great job protecting the rim and keeping the offense flowing. The Spurs' strength was in their defense, as they ranked 1st in defensive rating (103.5).

In their quest for another championship, the Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets in the first and second rounds, respectively. Sadly, they were swept by the top-seeded Warriors in the conference finals.


8. 2017-18 Houston Rockets

(via Space City Scoop)

(via Space City Scoop)

Stars: James Harden, Chris Paul

Best Role Players: P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon

Regular Season Record: 65-17

Playoffs: Western Conference Finals (Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors 3-4)

The Chris Paul effect was on full display once again after he joined the Houston Rockets in the 2017 offseason. Paul is known for taking average teams to deep runs in the NBA playoffs. His most recent exploit was with the Phoenix Suns, leading them to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.

Paul's addition to the team made things very easy for James Harden, leading to his first of three consecutive scoring titles. With CP3 orchestrating the offense and Harden's impeccable scoring, the Rockets dominated the Western Conference with a 65-17 record.

Under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets dominated their first two opponents in the 2018 playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz didn't register more than one win each against the Rockets. However, the Warriors were much tougher opponents.

In the conference finals, it was a back-and-forth series with either team failing to get any separation. After Game 5, the Rockets were ahead in the series but were utterly dominated in Game 6. In the all-deciding Game 7, the Rockets maintained the lead till midway through the third quarter. From the moment the Warriors secured the lead, they piled on the pressure and maintained their position till the final whistle.


7. 2005-06 Dallas Mavericks

2005-06 Dallas Mavericks

Stars: Dirk Nowitzki

Best Role Players: Jason Terry, Josh Howard

Regular Season Record: 60-22

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat 2-4)

A 60-22 run saw the Dallas Mavericks finish second in the Western Conference standings. They swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round and proceeded to face-off against the 63-19 Spurs in the semi-finals. It was a riveting matchup as the Spurs took Games 5 & 6 to tie the series. Despite Duncan's 41-point outing in Game 7, the combined effort of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry secured the victory for the Mavericks.

The Dallas Mavericks-Miami Heat NBA Finals series showed how much six minutes can affect the outcome of the game. The Mavericks were all but cruising to win No. 3 in the series before Dwyane Wade took over to overcome a 13-point deficit with under six minutes left to play in the game.

Going 3-0 up in the series would have sealed the deal for the Mavericks, as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Unfortunately for them, a combination of offensive and defensive genius from Games 4 to 6 secured the series victory for the Heat.


6. 1997-98 Utah Jazz

Karl Malone And John Stockton

Stars: Karl Malone, John Stockton

Best Role Players: Bryon Russell, Jeff Hornacek

Regular Season Record: 62-20

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls 2-4)

The Utah Jazz were the best offensive team in the league, with the duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone causing problems for opposition defenses. After another spectacular season, the Jazz were the top seed in the West with a 62-20 record.

It was not an easy run in the first round of the 1998 NBA playoffs for the Jazz as they struggled to overcome the Rockets. At the time, the first round was decided by a best-of-five, and the Jazz were forced to a Game 5 which they eventually won.

The semi-finals and conference finals were less tasking, as they went 8-1 in both meetings. Unfortunately, they were faced with a familiar foe, the Chicago Bulls, who prevented them from winning the 1997 NBA championship. Nothing was coming in the way of Michael Jordan's second three-peat as he stole the ball from Malone late in the fourth quarter of Game 6 and scored the go-ahead basket with seconds on the clock.


5. 1992-93 Phoenix Suns

Charles-Barkley

Stars: Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle

Best Role Players: Danny Ainge, Tom Chambers

Regular Season Record: 62-20

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Phoenix Suns vs. Chicago Bulls 2-4)

Before the 2021 NBA Finals, this was the last time the Phoenix Suns went that far in the postseason. But just like many other teams in the 1990s that faced the Jordan-led Bulls in the NBA Finals, they were beaten.

The Suns finished the season with a 62-20 record, and the next best team in the Western Conference had 55 wins. It was very gritty for the Suns in the playoffs as they had to fight for every win. In the end, they reached the playoffs after defeating the Seattle Supersonics in the conference finals 4-3.

One could argue that the 1993 Suns had the best chance of disrupting Jordan's perfect NBA Finals record. A triple-overtime victory in Game 3 marked the first win for the Suns in the series. They came close to forcing a Game 7, but Horace Grant's clutch block on Kevin Johnson won the series for the Bulls.


4. 1984-85 Boston Celtics

Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish

Stars: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish

Best Role Players: Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge

Regular Season Record: 63-19

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2-4)

The Boston Celtics of the 1980s are arguably one of the NBA's greatest dynasties. In that decade, they never missed the playoffs, and also made five appearances in the NBA Finals, winning three of them.

However, it was not to be in the 1985 playoffs, as they surprisingly lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. They started the series on a bright note, pounding the Lakers to win Game 1 by 34 points. Unfortunately, they lost Game 2 in fine fashion, giving away their home advantage.

Their final loss of the series came in Game 6 at Boston Garden. The Showtime Lakers won the game 111-100 after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy went on a scoring spree. It was an even battle as both teams both dominated their conferences. The Celtics finished the season with a 63-19 record, while the Lakers went 62-20. If the Celtics had maintained their composure, it would have been the Lakers making a feature on this list.


3. 1996-97 Utah Jazz

Karl Malone & John Stockton

Stars: Karl Malone, John Stockton

Best Role Players: Jeff Hornacek, Bryon Russell

Regular Season Record: 64-18

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls 2-4)

The Utah Jazz finished the 1996-97 season with the second-best record in the league (64-18), and the Chicago Bulls made sure to maintain their position as the best team in that season after the NBA Finals. Malone won the MVP award for his stellar performances, and it looked like that was the year, one where the Jazz will win their first NBA title.

After sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, they took on the second Los Angeles-based team and won the series in five games. The Rockets managed two wins in the conference finals, but that was about how close they got to stopping the Stockton-Malone train.

The challenge ahead was tough, as they had to face the reigning NBA champions and the team that set a new winning record in the league. The Bulls won the first two games, and the Utah Jazz responded in kind, taking Games 3 & 4. But the Bulls were too much for them to handle, and they lost the series in six games.


2. 1995-96 Seattle SuperSonics

Gary Payton And Shawn Kemp

Stars: Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp

Best Role Players: Detlef Schremph, Sam Perkins, Hersey Hawkins

Regular Season Record: 64-18

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Seattle SuperSonics vs. Chicago Bulls 2-4)

Seeing the date, you should have a pretty good idea about how this ended. The Bulls were on a rampage, and no one could slow them down.

The SuperSonics had their best season in franchise history, posting a 64-18 record in the regular season. But it all counted for naught as they could not clinch the NBA championship. Squaring off against the Bulls was an unlucky break, especially in the year they set the then NBA record with 72 wins.

An 11-3 run was impressive to become the Western Conference champions but they could only manage two wins against the Chicago Bulls. Detlef Schrempf led the scoring in Game 6, but the contributions of his teammates were not enough to overcome the Bulls.


1. 2015-16 Golden State Warriors

2015-2016 Golden State Warriors

Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson

Best Role Players: Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes

Regular Season Record: 73-9

Playoffs: NBA Finals (Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 3-4)

The Golden State Warriors came super close to being the greatest team in NBA history but fell short at the end. Steve Kerr led them to a 73-9 record, besting his 72-10 record he achieved in his time as a player with the Bulls.

Despite their regular-season dominance, they looked shaky in the playoffs. After going 8-2 in the first two rounds, they were held to seven games by the Thunder in the conference finals.

Things looked good early in the series as they had a 3-1 lead over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. But LBJ was not having it, leading his team to a record-setting comeback to win the series. To date, the 2016 Cavaliers are the only team to have overturned a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. At the same time, they prevented the 2015-16 Warriors from being the greatest team in NBA history.

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