In the Old Testament, periods of 40 days (and nights) recur in a few instances when it needs to be clear that something went on for a while. After Noah built that arc, it rained for 40 days and nights. When Moses went up that mountain, it was 40 days and nights before he returned with 10 Commandments.
These were substantial stretches of time but neither lasted quite as many days as the San Antonio Spurs recent winning streak. From April 12 until Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on the final night of May, the San Antonio Spurs were unbeaten, winning 20 straight games. That's 49 days and nights between losses.
April 11 marked the last loss the Spurs suffered before Thursday night. Perhaps Andrew Bynum's 30-rebound game in the Lakers' 98-84 win at the AT&T Center triggered something inside the Spurs' locker room. San Antonio reeled off 10 straight wins to close out the regular season and earn the top seed in the postseason. Then they won 10 in a row en route to taking a 2-0 series lead over the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. And during that 20-game winning streak, San Antonio averaged 109.4 points and only five of those victories were decided by less than 10 points. Five!
But Oklahoma City snapped San Antonio's streak in Game 3 with a blowout win. The Spurs didn't break the league record set by the Lakers for most wins to start the postseason (11 in both 1989 and 2001). They didn't break the record for longest winning streak ever (33 wins by the Lakers in 1971-72). But they did however break the record for the longest winning streak carried over from the regular season into the playoffs.
So where does San Antonio's 20-game run rank in the longest winning streaks in all of sports? Is it better than the Houston Rockets' 22-game winning streak (mostly without Yao Ming) in 2008? The Oakland A's set an AL record with 20 straight in 2002, capped by a walk-off home run by Scott Hatteberg. What about the UConn women's basketball team that won 90 straight from 2008 to 2010. Hoes San Antonio's streak compare?
Scroll down for a look at some of the best winning streaks of all time and vote on which you think was the greatest.
1972-73 Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins hold the record for being the first and only team to complete a perfect season in NFL history. The Dolphins went 17-0 throughout the season, and went on to win Super Bowl VII.
1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins set the NHL record in 1993 for most consecutive wins with 17 victories, a record that still stands today in the post-lockout era.
2002 Oakland Athletics
The A's set an AL record by winning their 20th consecutive game in 2002.
2008-10 UConn Huskies
Connecticut women's basketball set a record with 89 straight wins, and eventually 90, without a single defeat.
Cal Ripken's Game Streak
Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken, Jr. tied Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played when he suited up for his 2,130th consecutive appearance. Ripken's streak ended in 1998 after playing in 2,632 MLB games.
1971-72 L.A. Lakers
Los Angeles was home to a 33-game winning streak that stretched from November 5, 1971 to January 7, 1972, a streak that spanned almost half a season.
1916 New York Giants
In 1916, The Giants won 26 consecutive games from September 7 to September 30, the most in MLB history. The Polo Grounds, once home to the New York Giants baseball club, is seen in this 1921 photo. (AP Photo)
Brian Boucher's Shutout Streak
Brian Boucher was the starting goaltender for the Phoenix Coyotes when he recorded five consecutive shutouts during the 2003-04 season.
2007-08 New England Patriots
After an undefeated season, the Pats went into Super Bowl XLII with a 16-0 record. They would go on to suffer their only loss at the hands of the New York Giants, just narrowly missing a perfect season and a championship.
2011-12 San Antonio Spurs
Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs currently hold a 20-0 winning streak, with 10 of those wins coming from post-season match-ups in the playoffs. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
1971-74 UCLA Bruins
UCLA basketball coach John Wooden listens to Greg Lee, left, during a time out in game against Iowa in Chicago, Ill., Thursday night, Jan. 17, 1974. Wooden's Bruins defeated Loyola, 68-44, to hold an 88-game regular season winning streak. (AP Photo)
1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers
Holding a record that no modern NHL team has come close to today, the Broad Street Bullies managed to string together 35 consecutive games without a loss. However, ten of those games ended in a draw.
2007-08 Houston Rockets
The Rockets won 22 consecutive games in 2008 - the second longest winning streak in NBA history - despite losing Yao Ming to injury.
2006-07 Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks went on a torrid run in 2007 to win 17 consecutive NBA games, but the streak was inevitably cut short by the Golden State Warriors.