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The NBA Playoffs got underway on Monday and there has already been some pretty exciting action.
For the first time in 23 years, the postseason doesn’t include the San Antonio Spurs, but there are a number of regulars back in the playoffs. We count down the five longest active streaks:
T-5. Indiana Pacers (5)
The Indiana Pacers are in the playoffs for the fifth straight year and ninth time in 10 seasons. Indiana reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014, but lost to the Miami Heat each year. After missing the playoffs the following season, the Pacers have been a first-round exit in each of the last four seasons. As the No. 4 seed, they look to change that against the Heat.
T-5. Oklahoma City Thunder (5)
The days of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are gone in Oklahoma City, but the Thunder continue to put a solid product on the court. Led by a rejuvenated Chris Paul, the Thunder reached the postseason for a fifth straight season. The last time that didn’t happen, star Kevin Durant missed 55 games. Oklahoma City has now had 11 straight winning seasons, but has not made it past the first round since blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 Western Conference Finals.
4. Boston Celtics (6)
The Boston Celtics are in the playoffs for the sixth straight season under head coach Brad Stevens. Boston has advanced past the first round in each of the past three seasons. The Celtics started things off on the right foot with a Game 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Boston hasn’t missed the postseason since Stevens’ first year. It has been a decade since they reached the NBA Finals.
T-2. Portland Trail Blazers (7)
Without the bubble and a play-in game, the Portland Trail Blazers’ streak may have come to an end. During the NBA restart however, guard Damian Lillard made sure that didn’t happen. This was Portland’s first losing season since Terry Stotts’ first season as head coach. The Trail Blazers have been eliminated in the first round in three of the last six seasons, but reached the Western Conference Finals last season for the first time in 19 years.
T-2. Toronto Raptors (7)
The reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors haven’t missed the postseason since doing so five years in a row from 2009 to 2013. The Raptors have advanced past the first round in each of the last four seasons. This marks the fifth straight season that Toronto has won at least 50 games. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, Toronto has secured a top-3 seed in the Eastern Conference in each of those seasons.
1. Houston Rockets (8)
Despite San Antonio missing the playoffs for the first time since Tim Duncan was a college senior, the longest active playoff streak remains in the Lone Star State. Since signing James Harden prior to the 2012-13 season, the Houston Rockets have made the playoffs each year. Over the previous seven seasons, Houston has advanced past the first round four times and reached the Western Conference Finals twice. The Rockets haven’t been to the NBA Finals since winning consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995.