On September 23, 2015, Jason Richardson officially announced his retirement after playing 14 seasons in the NBA.
On November 13, 2015, Hedo Türkoğlu officially announced his retirement after playing 15 seasons in the NBA.
On November 29, 2015, Kobe Bryant officially announced that the 2015–16 season will be his last after playing 20 seasons, winning five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant ended his career with a season-high 60 points in his final career game against the Utah Jazz.
On December 20, 2015, the Milwaukee Bucks announced that assistant coach Joe Prunty would take on the interim head coach role while Jason Kidd recovers after taking an indefinite leave to have hip surgery.
On January 22, 2016, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr returned after complications following back surgery, taking over from Luke Walton, who led the Warriors to a 39–4 record. Walton returns as an assistant coach for Kerr.
On January 22, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt after 1 1/2 seasons with the team. Assistant coach Tyronn Lue was named the new head coach after signing a three-year deal with the Cavaliers.
On February 1, 2016, the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after two and a half seasons with the team. Suns’ assistant coach Earl Watson was named as interim head coach. On April 19, the Suns decided to promote Watson as their full-time coach for the next three years.
This will be the eighth and final year of the current TV contracts with ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV before the new nine-year contracts begin in 2016.
ABC announced that they would be adding games on Saturday nights followed by NBA Sunday Showcase as well as continuing their games on Sunday afternoons. The first Saturday night game was Saturday, January 23, 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the Chicago Bulls.
The Philadelphia 76ers began to refer to their home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, solely as "The Center" in team correspondence, due to Wells Fargo not being a corporate partner in the team. The team's redesigned floor at first de-emphasized the sponsor of the team's arena, with the text of the Wells Fargo Center logo rendered in white that blended in with the floor in a minimal font. However, television and radio broadcasts still use the full arena name. Eventually the logo text was restored to a normal-sized black font by the start of January after input from arena owner Comcast Spectacor, with the 76ers signing a non-signage "official bank" deal with Firstrust Bank.
The NBA confirmed that beginning this season, the format for allowing teams to enter the playoffs would change to allow the best eight teams in the Western and Eastern Conferences to enter based on records alone, regardless of who wins their divisions in their conferences. As a result, the tiebreaker stages were adjusted to accommodate those changes as well. Ironically, in 2015–16, the top three teams from both conferences wound up winning their top respective seeds and won their respective divisions for the first year that this new rule took effect.
For the first time in franchise history, the Minnesota Timberwolves entered an NBA draft with the first overall draft pick. The Timberwolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns, who is the first #1 selection to come out of the Dominican Republic. The team also had three straight #1 draft selections on the same team, with Towns joining both Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins at one point. However, Bennett agreed to a buyout with the Timberwolves before the season began, on September 23, 2015.
The Houston Rockets became the first team in league history to start off a season with three straight losses of at least 20 points each.
On November 2, 2015, LeBron James surpassed Kobe Bryant to become the youngest player to score 25,000 career points at 30 years, 307 days during the fourth quarter in a road victory against the Philadelphia 76ers. He also became the 20th player in league history to reach the 25,000 point milestone.
On November 14, 2015, Tim Duncan moved to 5th on the all-time career blocks list, surpassing former teammate and Hall of Famer David Robinson. Coincidentally, his teammate Tony Parker also became the 34th player to hit the 6,000 career assist mark.
On November 15, 2015, Kevin Garnett became the fifth player in league history to play over 50,000 minutes throughout his tenure. He also surpassed Elvin Hayes as the fourth-most played player in league history. He would achieve that mark by playing 23 minutes in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
On November 21, 2015, Dwyane Wade surpassed both Dale Ellis and Reggie Theus to become the league's 49th highest scorer of all-time. He overtook Ellis’ spot by making a free-throw late in the second quarter in a home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, and later surpassed Theus’ spot by making two free-throws in the middle of the fourth quarter in the same game.
On November 24, 2015, the Golden State Warriors set the NBA record for the longest winning streak to start out the regular season with a 16–0 record following a win against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors would eventually start the season with a 24–1 record after getting their first loss on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 12, 2015, ending their longest winning streak ever at 28 games between two seasons of regular season play.
On November 29, 2015, Kobe Bryant announced he would retire after the end of the season. During twenty seasons, Bryant won five NBA championships, one season MVP award, and was selected to the All-Star Game seventeen times.
The Philadelphia 76ers became the first team in league history to start out multiple seasons in a row with 0–17 records. They also ended up breaking the NBA record for longest losing streak with their 28 straight loss and tied the 2009–10 New Jersey Nets for the worst start to a season in league history before getting their first victory of the season on December 1, 2015 at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.
On November 30, 2015, Dirk Nowitzki made his 10,000th career field goal in a loss to the Kings, becoming just the 13th player in NBA history to achieve that milestone.
On January 7, 2016, Kobe Bryant scored his 33,000th career point in a loss to the Kings. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone (who, coincidentally enough, both played for the Lakers at one point) as the only NBA players to have 33,000 (or more) career points.
On January 25, 2016, Stephen Curry scored his 10,000th career point in a win against the Spurs. The game also marked the highest combined winning percentage between two teams, Spurs (.864) & Warriors (.909), this late in the season in NBA history.
On January 29, 2016, LeBron James became the youngest (17th overall) player to ever score 26,000 points in a win against the Detroit Pistons.
On February 27, 2016, in a win against the Rockets, Tim Duncan surpassed Karl Malone for 6th on the all-time rebounds list, and also became just the fifth player in NBA history to record 3,000 career blocks.
On February 27, 2016, during the Golden State Warriors’ 121–118 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Stephen Curry made his 287th 3-pointer of the season, breaking his own NBA record of most 3-pointers in a single season (286) from the previous year. Curry made 12 total 3-pointers during the game, tying Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall for the most 3-pointers made by a single player in a single game in NBA history. This also made Curry the first player in NBA history to make at least ten three-pointers in two consecutive games.
On March 6, 2016, the Los Angeles Lakers (who were 12–51 with a winning percentage of .190 at the time) recorded the biggest regular season upset in NBA history with a blowout 112–95 victory over the Golden State Warriors (who were 55–5 with a winning percentage of .917 at the time). It was also the first time in NBA history that a team with a winning percentage below .200 in the regular season had ever defeated a team with a winning percentage above .900 so late in the regular season.
On March 7, 2016, the Golden State Warriors recorded their 45th straight regular season home victory with a 119–113 home victory against the Orlando Magic, surpassing the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls for the longest regular season home winning streak in NBA history. The Warriors’ winning streak included their final eighteen regular season home games of the previous year.
On March 10, 2016, Tim Duncan became just the sixth player in NBA history to record 15,000 career rebounds.
On March 14, 2016, the Golden State Warriors became the fastest team in league history to reach 60 wins in a season.
On March 18, 2016, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets passed 11,000 career rebounds in a 116–111 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
On March 19, 2016, the prime time game between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs set an NBA record for the highest combined winning percentage between two teams through at least 50 regular season games in NBA history (.882 combined winning percentage); the Golden State Warriors entered the game with a 62–6 win-loss record and a .912 winning percentage, while the San Antonio Spurs entered the game with a 58–10 win-loss record and a .853 winning percentage. The Spurs won the game by a score of 87–79 to earn their 44th straight regular season home victory, tying them with the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls for the 2nd longest regular season home winning streak in NBA history.
On March 23, 2016, the San Antonio Spurs earned their 45th consecutive regular season home victory by blowing out the Miami Heat 112–88, surpassing the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls for the 2nd longest regular season home winning streak in NBA history.
With their 63rd loss on March 23, 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers became only the second team to win fewer than twenty games in each of three consecutive seasons, equalling the Vancouver Grizzlies between 1995–96 and 1998–99.[a]
On March 25, 2016, the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks scored a combined 39 three-pointers, breaking the previous NBA record of most combined three-pointers between both teams in a single game (37) that had been set by the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers only 14 days earlier; Golden State scored 21 three-pointers while Dallas scored 18 three-pointers. Golden State's 21 three-pointers moved the team's season total to 938, which surpassed the previous year's mark of 933 three-pointers set by the Houston Rockets for the most 3-pointers made by a team in a single season in NBA history.
On March 26, 2016, Kristaps Porziņģis became the first player in NBA history to record more than 1,000 points, record at least 500 rebounds, record at least 75 three-pointers, and block more than 100 shots in his rookie season.
On April 3, 2016, the Memphis Grizzlies became the first team in NBA history to have 28 different players record game minutes during a single season, which is the most players a team has ever fielded during a single season.
On April 5, 2016, with a Spurs victory over the Jazz, Tim Duncan joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish as one of only three players in NBA history to amass at least one thousand career regular season wins. Duncan also became the first (and so far, only) player to record 1,000 regular season victories with a single team.
On April 7, 2016, the San Antonio Spurs–Golden State Warriors matchup on TNT marked the first game in NBA history between two teams with at least 65 wins each. The Warriors entered the game with 69 wins while the Spurs entered the game with 65 wins; the 134 combined wins between the two teams set a record for the most combined wins between two teams in a regular season matchup in NBA history. The Warriors won the game by a score of 112–101 to clinch the NBA's best record and home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. The win was Golden State's 70th victory of the season, making them only the second team in NBA history to record 70 regular season wins, joining the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls.
On April 10, 2016, the Golden State Warriors–San Antonio Spurs matchup on NBA TV marked only the second game in NBA history between two teams with at least 65 wins each. The Warriors entered the game with 71 wins while the Spurs entered the game with 65 wins; the 136 combined wins between the two teams broke the record of most combined wins between two teams in a regular season matchup in NBA history that had been set (by the same two teams) three days earlier. The Warriors won the game 92–86 to clinch their 72nd win of the season, which tied the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls for the most regular season wins by a team in NBA history. The Warriors also recorded their 34th road win of the season, which surpassed that same 1995–96 Chicago Bulls team for the most road wins by a team in a single season in NBA history. The win also ensured that the Warriors would become both the first team in NBA history to go through a full regular season without ever losing back-to-back games as well as the first team in NBA history to go through a full regular season without ever losing multiple games to a single opponent.
On April 10, 2016, San Antonio's home loss to the Golden State Warriors snapped their NBA record streak of 39 consecutive home wins to begin a season and their regular season home game winning streak of 48 games dating back to the previous year, which was second to only Golden State's record 54-straight regular season home game winning streak for the longest in NBA history.
On April 12, 2016, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 102–98 in overtime to tie the 1985–86 Boston Celtics for the best regular season home record in NBA history (40–1), with their only regular season home loss occurring on April 10 against the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs’ win also assured that they would end the regular season with a winning percentage higher than .800, making this season the first in NBA history in which two teams (the other team being the Warriors) ended the regular season with winning percentages higher than .800.[b]
On April 13, 2016, the Golden State Warriors won their final game of the year to finish the regular season with a 73–9 record, thus setting an NBA record for most regular season wins in one season. The previous record belonged to the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls, who finished with a 72–10 record.
This was the first season in NBA history in which a team would not lose back-to-back regular season games, as well as the first season in NBA history in which a team would not lose to the same opponent twice in the regular season (both of those feats were accomplished by the Golden State Warriors).
On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant, playing in the final NBA game of his career, scored 60 points in a comeback win against the Jazz. Kobe became the oldest player ever to score 60 points in a game, and set the record for most points scored by a player in their final career game. Bryant shot a career high 50 field goal attempts and 21 three-point attempts in the game, and became just the fifth player in NBA history to shoot at least 10,000 career free throw attempts.
On April 13, 2016, Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to make 400 three-pointers in a single season. Curry made a total of 10 three-pointers during the Golden State Warriors' NBA-record 73rd regular season win to finish the regular season with a total of 402 three-pointers, 116 more three-pointers than his previous NBA record mark for most three-pointers in a single season (286).
James Harden set an NBA single-season record for turnovers with 374. On April 7, he tied the previous record of 366, set by Artis Gilmore of the Chicago Bulls during the 1977–78 season (the first season that individual turnovers were recorded), and in his next game, on April 10, he broke the record.
For the first time since 2004–05, all eight seeded teams in the East finished with a record over .500 in a full season (thus excluding the 2011–12 season, which was shortened to 66 games due to a strike).
On April 20, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers made 20 three-pointers in a 107–90 win against the Detroit Pistons, tying the NBA record for the most made three-pointers by a team in a playoff game.
On April 24, 2016, the Golden State Warriors made 21 three-pointers during their 121–94 win against the Houston Rockets, which set a new NBA record for the most three-pointers made by a team in a playoff game. The former record for most three-pointers made by a team in a playoff game was 20, which the Cleveland Cavaliers had equaled only four days beforehand.
On April 27, 2016, Klay Thompson became the first player in NBA history to score at least seven 3-pointers in consecutive playoff games.
On April 29, 2016, with the Pacers' 101–83 win over the Raptors in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series, it was ensured that there would be at least one Game 7 in the playoffs for the seventeenth straight year. The last time when there were no Game 7's at any point during the playoffs came during the 1999 NBA Playoffs.
On May 1, 2016, the Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 89–84 for their first Game 7 victory in franchise history. It was the Raptors' first ever best-of-seven games playoff series win and their first playoff series win overall since 2001.
On May 1, 2016, Klay Thompson became the first player in NBA history to score at least seven 3-pointers in three straight playoff games.
On May 4, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA playoff record by making 18 three-pointers in the first half of their 123–98 rout of the Atlanta Hawks, 10 of which occurred during the second quarter, which also set an NBA playoff record for most three-pointers in a quarter. They then broke the record for the most three-pointers in a playoff game set by the Golden State Warriors ten days earlier with 25 total three-pointers, which set another NBA record for the most three-pointers made by a team in any regular season or postseason game.
On May 6, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to hit 20 three-pointers in consecutive games, making 21 in a game against the Atlanta Hawks two days after setting an NBA record with 25.
On May 8, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks with a 100–99 win. The Cavaliers finished the game with 16 three-pointers, making them the first team in NBA history to score at least 15 three-pointers in four consecutive games.
On May 9, 2016, Stephen Curry returned to play after missing two weeks due to a MCL sprain and scored 40 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 132–125 overtime win against the Portland Trail Blazers. Curry scored 17 of his 40 points during the overtime period, setting an NBA record for most points ever scored by a single player in an overtime period in any NBA regular season or postseason game.
On May 15, 2016, the Toronto Raptors earned their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in franchise history, beating the Miami Heat four games to three in their semifinal series.
On May 16, 2016, Stephen Curry made a 3-pointer in his 45th consecutive playoff game, which surpassed Reggie Miller (44) for the NBA record of most consecutive playoff games with at least one made 3-pointer.
On May 27, 2016, LeBron James became the eighth player in NBA history to reach six straight NBA Finals. James is the first player to not be part of the Boston Celtics' 1960s dynasty and the first player in 50 years to accomplish the feat.
On May 30, 2016, the Golden State Warriors became the 3rd defending champion in NBA history, and the 10th team overall, to come back and win a best-of-seven playoff series after facing a 3–1 series deficit.
On June 10, 2016, the Golden State Warriors earned their 88th win of the season (regular season and playoffs combined) by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, surpassing the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls' record of most combined regular season and postseason wins in a single season in NBA history. During the game, the Warriors also made 17 three-pointers, setting a record for most made three-pointers by a single team in an NBA Finals game.
On June 19, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93–89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to claim their first ever league title. The Warriors became the 11th team overall to lose a seven-game playoff series after leading 3-1, and the first one to do so in the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers became the first NBA team to win a championship by winning a Game 7 on the road since the Seattle SuperSonics did so in 1979.
On June 19, 2016, LeBron James became the first player, in any playoff series, to lead all players in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
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