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Steve Kerr has been involved in several superb starts
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NBA: Best ever starts to an NBA season

Wednesday night saw the Portland Trail Blazers lose their league-best record, having started with four straight wins.

Their defeat to the Miami Heat leaves the Milwaukee Bucks as the only undefeated team in the league, but the 2021 champions have only played three times so far.

The Bucks have a lot to live up to, as they are still way short of the best opening runs in NBA history.

Below is a list of the greatest starts to a regular season since the league merger in 1976.

2016/17 Golden State Warriors

This is only the first entry for the Warriors on the list, with the team fresh from adding Kevin Durant the offseason before they lost straight out of the gate, before redeeming themselves with an incredible 16-1 run following that loss.

Durant was clearly a brilliant addition, top-scoring for the team in five of his first six games in San Francisco.

While they’d go on to start December with a loss, this edition of the Warriors finished with a 67-15 record, bettered by only eight sides in history. They also backed that up with a championship.

1985/86 Boston Celtics

Off the back of an NBA Finals defeat to bitter rivals the LA Lakers, the Boston Celtics hit the ground running in 1985. The Larry Bird-led team also lost on opening night, before going on to record a 67-15 finish of their own.

After losing, the Celtics bounced back by winning 17 of their following 18 games and it was December before they lost their first home game that season. After that, they didn’t drop another at the Boston Garden until the second round of the Play-offs, finishing 40-1 for regular season home outings.

2002/03 Dallas Mavericks

Since 1976, only two teams have made a longer unbeaten start than the Mavs in 2002, who fell one game short of tying the great start of all-time by that point.

An honourable mention should probably go to the 1948 Washington Capitols, who won their opening 15 games of the season.

The Mavs were inspired by Steve Nash to push close to that mark and they never really hit the same heights after a loss in their 15th game.

Despite their record-breaking start, they didn’t even win their division, never mind the Western Conference, with the San Antonio Spurs topping them before eliminating the Mavs in the Conference finals.

1996/97 Chicago Bulls

The year before ‘The Last Dance’, the Chicago Bulls were in their pomp. In terms of pure unbeaten starts, it’s one of the best ever, with the Bulls going 12-0.

They were able to bounce back from that and they dropped only 13 games across that entire season on their way to the second part of their second three-peat.

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1995/96 Bulls

The Bulls may have been at their peak in 1996, but they came into the 95/96 season with Michael Jordan only a few months into his return from baseball.

They had been beaten in the Play-offs the year before, but the following season set them apart from the rest.

While the Bulls did drop two games in November, by the time they’d lost for a fourth time that season they had racked up 41 wins. That Bulls side didn’t lose at home until two weeks before the end of the regular season, winning 37 straight.

That Bulls side finished 39-2 at home, with the two losses coming by a single point. They set a then-league record with 72 wins from a possible 82.

1993/94 Houston Rockets

The Rockets were the first team post-1976 to match the Capitols' 15-0 start. They were led by one of the greatest players of all-time in Hakeem Olajuwon, who inspired them to a 22-1 start that year.

The Rockets went on to finish with a 58-24 record before winning the 1994 title. They remain one of only three sides in the 76-year history of the NBA to start 11-0 or better and win the championship the same year.

2015/16 Golden State Warriors

At this point, we should give a mention to Steve Kerr, coach of the Warriors during their two appearances on this list and player for the Bulls in their two.

However, it was interim coach Luke Walton at the helm for undoubtedly the greatest start in NBA history.

The Warriors won all of their first 24 games, ending up 39-4 during Walton’s temporary reign. Kerr returned to lead them to a record-shattering 73-9 season, the best in the league's history.

After all that, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, prompting the summer signing of Durant.

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