The Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night won their fifth consecutive game to start the 2013-14 NBA season with a 97-80 win over the Chicago Bulls. The Pacers are the last remaining undefeated team and the only team to get to 5-0 to start the season.
The Pacers became the 20th team since the 1999-2000 season to start the year 5-0. In 2012-13, the New York Knicks were the only team to reach 5-0 to start that campaign.
Starting 5-0 has been a good omen for teams. First, of the previous 19 teams to start the year 5-0, all made the playoffs. Five eventually lost in a conference first round series; four lost in a conference semifinals; two lost in a conference finals; and eight made the NBA finals that year, with four winning the title. Here’s a look at the last eight teams to start the season 5–0 who made it to the NBA Finals that season.
Started 5-0 and won the NBA title that year
2001-02: Los Angeles Lakers
2007-08: Boston Celtics
2008-09: Los Angeles Lakers
2011-12: Miami Heat
Started 5-0 and lost in the NBA Finals that year
2000-01: Philadelphia 76ers
2003-04: Los Angeles Lakers
2009-10: Boston Celtics
2011-12: Oklahoma City Thunder
Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, starting the season 0-5. The Utah Jazz this year are the only NBA team that does not have a victory after five games. The Jazz became the 28th team since 1999-2000 to begin the season with an 0-5 record. The good news is that four teams were able to recover from this slow start and still make the playoffs that year. The bad news is that 23 of the 27 teams that started 0-5 did not make the playoffs that season.
Here’s a look at the four teams since 1999-2000 that started 0-5 yet still made the playoffs that year.
2001-02: Philadelphia 76ers (finished 43-39; lost in the first round of the conference playoffs)
2003-04: Miami Heat (finished 42-40; lost in the semifinals of the conference playoffs)
2004-05: Chicago Bulls (finished 47-35; lost in the first round of the conference playoffs)
2007-08: Washington Wizards (finished 43-39; lost in the first round of the conference playoffs)
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp