We’re Going Streaking!
December 20, 2015
Bring your green hat because we’re going to take a look at some of the streaks going on in sports lately and see how they compare to the all-time leaders.
First we’ll head out to the Bay and take a look at the dominate performance to start the NBA season by the Golden State Warriors. As of this posting they are 26-1 to start the season. Now before I get too far into the stats of their streak let me start by saying thank you to the Warriors for pretty much being the only team that is keeping people interested in basketball this year.
The golden days of the NBA are well behind us as the 2000s were pretty horrible to watch and it’s getting worse and worse since you see 1 of 3 things on every trip down the floor:
- Jack up a 3-pointer
- Throw an alley-oop
- Try to make a circus shot like you’re on the playground
Luckily the Warriors are excellent 3-point shooters and just skilled shooters in general so they can get away with it. Not so much on just about every other team which seems to have 1-3 good players and a bunch of guys who in any other era would probably be riding the pine the entire season except for in blowout games or more likely in the D-League. Basketball hasn’t really been basketball in a while where it used to be a team sport as opposed to a bunch of 1-on-1 scenarios each time up the court.
The one team that consistently bucks this trend (and has 5 championships to show for it in his era) are the Gregg Popovich-led San Antonio Spurs. He’s a true old school coach who stresses the importance of teamwork, sharing, good defense, moving the ball on offense and no matter who you are if you make a bad play you may be pulled from the game. So while I’m on this tangent let me talk about his streak numbers since he has been the coach of the Spurs starting in 1996 (19 years ago):
- He has put together 18 consecutive winning seasons, in which they made the playoffs of all of them, which is the most in NBA history … his only losing season was his first when he took over 18 games into the season so that doesn’t really even count
- He was a perfect 4-0 in the NBA Finals until 2013 when the Miami Heat beat them … luckily they rebounded the next year to win it again against the same Heat team
- While not a streak he is 1 of only 2 coaches in NBA history to win 1,000 games with one franchise … the other being Jerry Sloan with the Utah Jazz
Now getting back to the Warriors, who are chasing my childhood team, the Chicago Bulls, record-setting season of 72-10. Obviously on this pace they’re going to crush that mark set back in the 1995-1996 season but that also means that for the next 4+ months they will continue to play out of their minds and at the highest possible level night in and night out. While anything is possible I think they will fall short … I obviously hope they will fall short as well since I’m a lifelong Bulls fan and grew up as a teenager watching Jordan and company dominate the NBA during the 90s. Let’s look at some of the comparisons between the 2 teams (however you may want to skip this part if you’ve watched any ESPN recently as it’s all they talk about):
- Started the season 24-0, the best start of an NBA season ever, before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks on December 12th, 2015 and are now 26-1 after defeating those same Bucks at home on Friday night … they eclipsed the 1884 St. Louis Maroons who started 20-0
- Dating back to last year’s regular season the Warriors had won 28 games before their Dec. 12th loss which, while impressive, is still only 2nd to the 1971-1972 Lakers streak of 33 straight victories which occurred all in the middle of the same season
- They set another NBA record for road victories to start a season by going 14-0 before losing to the Bucks
- The Warriors are currently on a 29-game home winning streak between this season and last season which is still a ways off the pace of the Bulls who won 44 straight home games between the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 seasons
- Although they’ve only lost 1 game so far this will be an interesting stat to revisit at the end of the season … number of total points they lost by this season which, so far, stands at 13 in their 1 loss
- Through their first 24 games they went 22-2 and through their first 27 games (which are what the Warriors are through now) they were 24-3
- Here’s a fun stat about this magical season the Bulls won their first 37 games at home this year and then, oddly, went 2-2 at home in the final 4 home games … both 1 point losses (as was their 3rd to last loss of the season)
- The total number of points they lost by this year … 77 points in 10 losses and 32 of those came in their only blowout loss of the season to the hated, rival New York Knicks meaning the other 9 games were lost by a total of 45 points … the 77 points is an NBA record for lowest total number of points in defeats in a season
- The Bulls also only had 1 losing streak, granted it was 2 games, this season as they neared the All-Star game in February … a 6-point loss at Denver and a 10-point loss at Phoenix (before going to Golden State and beating them by 4 to end the 1st half of the season)
- Another stat that jumps out is that the Bulls had 2 of the best players on their team, the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen; one of them lead the Bulls in scoring in 78 of the 82 regular season games meaning they stayed healthy and dominate night in and night out … currently 1 of the Warriors 2 main scoring machines, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have led them in scoring every game thus far
Now the 1 thing that can hurt the Warriors is defense. While they’ve been red-hot from the field, hitting timely shots and blowing people out from the get go for the most part there will be times when you have some off nights and need some stops to help you out. As you could probably guess both the Bulls team and this Warriors team were/are #1 in offense in the league. However the difference is on the defensive side where the Warriors are #21 (out of 30 teams) the Bulls were #3 (out of 29 teams).
So we will see what the rest of the way holds for the Warriors and if they can surpass the mark set by one of the most dominant seasons ever recorded on their way to a championship. However while it would be a nice thing for the Warriors to achieve you know they don’t (or at least shouldn’t) care as much about a record as they should about returning to the NBA Finals and repeating as World Champs!
Next let’s turn to hockey where another impressive streak has recently come to an end. Once again I get to gloat a little since it was a guy from my Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane, who recently had his point streak snapped at 26 games. For anyone not as familiar with hockey scoring you can get a point by either scoring a goal or getting an assist. Now 26 consecutive games with a point seems pretty impressive. I mean in those games the Blackhawks went 15-7-4 in that stretch and Kane compiled a total of 40 total points (16 goals and 24 assists).
Now let’s break down some of the streaks he broke with his 26-game dominance:
- He broke the record for longest point streak by an American born player which had been 18 games held by Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel
- He broke the record for longest point streak by a Chicago Blackhawks player which had been 21 games by the great Bobby Hull
- While Sidney Crosby had a 25 game streak in 2010-2011 this was the longest in the NHL since 1992-1993 when Mats Sundin did it for the Quebec Nordiques
- However while 26 straight games is impressive, it becomes much less impressive when you remember what the G.O.A.T Wayne Gretzky did back in 1983-1984 when he almost doubled that and went 51 straight games with a point
As we turn our attention to football this may be the streak getting the least amount of recognition and the most amount of haters. The Carolina Panthers have started the season a perfect 13-0 looking to make it 14-0 this week as they take on the New York Giants on the road. Granted no other team is still unbeaten in the NFL (there are currently two 2-loss teams which is the next closest) the Panthers have only recently gone to the top of the NFL Power Rankings. They could easily have both the MVP (Cam Newton) and Defensive Player of the Year (Luke Keuchly) on their team but are constantly downplayed as the favorites to win it all this year.
Now we’ve seen in the past how a perfect regular season means nothing when you get to the playoffs in the case of the 2007 New England Patriots. They made it all the way to Super Bowl XLII undefeated only to lose to the New York Giants who snuck in as a 10-6 Wild Card team that year.
Now going back to last year the Panthers have amassed 17 straight regular season wins dating back to last season where they won their final 4 games. This is still a ways off the pace of the longest streak though set by Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts back in 2008-2009. The Colts won the final 9 games of the 2008 season on their way to their Super Bowl victory over my Chicago Bears. They then started the 2009 season 14-0 to set a record of 23 consecutive regular season wins. Next you have 2 different streaks by the New England Patriots (21 games between the 2006 and 2007 seasons and 18 games between the 2003 and 2004 seasons) before Manning shows back up with the Denver Broncos who won 11 games to close out the 2012 season, his first in Denver and then he reeled off the first 6 wins of the 2013 season bringing the total to 17, which is where the Panthers currently sit as well.
One more NFL streak I’d like to highlight before signing off for the week. This one also came to an end recently and really the only reason I bring it up is to celebrate it ending since it was a streak for my rival and hated nemesis cheesehead Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers is nothing but a stellar QB (except for the last few weeks) but earlier this year he finally had his streak broken of not throwing an interception while playing a game at home in Lambeau Field. Rodgers threw an interception (well actually 2 that day) against the St. Louis Rams on October 11th, 2015. His last interception at Lambeau came on December 2nd, 2012. That is an impressive span of 586 consecutive passes and 49 touchdowns between INTs.
Here are a few other things to take note of while we’re talking about his streak ending:
- As I mentioned he threw 2 INTs which was the first time he did that at home since the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7 of the 2010 season
- Coincidentally the Vikings were also the last team to pick him off at home on that December 2nd, 2010 game
- Rodgers also lost a fumble in the October game against St. Louis giving him 3 turnovers on the day which was the first time since Week 9 of the 2009 season he’s committed 3 TOs on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the first time he’s ever had that many turnovers at home (he had just 3 TOs in his previous 17 home games combined)
Anyway I wanted to end that on an upbeat note for me. Hope you enjoyed