Photo: VINCENT LAFORET / Stringer(Getty Images)
The 95-96 Bulls, which are also known as the 72-10 Bulls, are one of the most memorable teams in sports ever, their success will be forever remembered by NBA fans. Even though the regular season record which was deemed as unbeatable was broken by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors, who won 73 games and lost 9. Yet they didn’t win the Championship. Which is why this Bulls team’s year is still deemed as the most impressive one in the NBA.
But even this iconic team had his share of Ls during the campaign for the first ring after the Houston Rockets double, following the first three-peat of the Bulls. The 95-96 Bulls roster looked like this: Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley, Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, Jason Caffey, James Edwards, Jack Haley, Ron Harper, Bill Wennington, Dickey Simpkins. At midseason, John Salley joined the team. They were coached by Phil Jackson.
95-96 Bulls Regular Season Lost Games
The 1996 Chicago Bulls started the season with five Ws, and the first setback came against the Orlando Magic, without Shaquille O’Neal, 94:88 was the score in favor of the Florida team. Bulls swept the Magic with Shaq in the conference finals later that season.
Five wins later and Bulls traveled to the team that will be their NBA finals rival later that year – Seattle SuperSonics. Shawn Kemp and Gary Peyton lead the SuperSonics to the 97:92 win with 26 and 25 points.
1996 bulls team rallied and managed to record 13 wins, during a very busy, very packed schedule. Indiana Pacers were the next team to take a W from the Bulls – 103:97 despite Jordan and Pippen combining for 56 points. It seemed like Christmas celebration didn’t fall well with Jackson’s team as the game was played on 26th of December 1995, and in Indiana.
18 straight wins came after the Pacers loss, but the Bulls then recorded two back-to-back losses on their West coast tour. Denver Nuggets won 105:99 against the future champions, despite Jordan scoring 39 in the game. Two days later Charles Barkley led the Phoenix Suns to a 106:96 win with 35 points and 16 rebounds.
Seven straight Ws later and the 95-96 Bulls were in Miami were Heat outscored them 113:104 as Rex Champan made 39 buckets. Bulls got their revenge in the first round of the playoffs as they swept the Heat.
Their next loss in the regular season came against the team they beat in the Conference semi-finals later that year – New York Knicks. And after six straight wins since the Heat loss. It was the biggest loss of the season for the 1996 Bulls championship generation – 104:72 at the Madison Square Garden.
All the remaining losses of the season for the Chicago Bulls were just by a single point margin!
Another six Ws later, and Jordan and the company went to Canada, played against the Toronto Raptors and lost 109:108.
Yet again, another six wins and another loss. But this time it was at home, first one in the season and it was 8th of April! Charlotte Hornets won the game 98:97 ending the Bulls 37-0 season win streak at home, 44 home game winning streak when counting in the season before.
Four wins later and the 95-96 Bulls became the first team to ever win 70 regular season games! After the 71st win, Indiana Pacers became the only team that has beat the 1996 Bulls twice that regular season with a 100:99 score.
The Bulls ended the regular season with a win over the Washington Bullets. In the playoffs, they suffered only three defeats more, one against the Knicks, two against the SuperSonics in the final.
Their record is broken, but as they say, “73-9 ain’t a thing without the ring”.