Of course, there aren’t many sports enthusiasts who are not aware that the Miami Heat are hoping to attain that elusive 34th consecutive victory this season. What are their chances? What could keep them from doing it? What would breaking the record AND winning the NBA Championship mean?
We were able to come up with three reasons why the Heat might not be able to break the 41 year old record of 33 consecutive wins currently held by the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers.
Health: Although looking at this season you would never know it, the core of LeBron James’ supporting cast in Miami, if you were to dig a little deeper, have not been the healthiest bunch of players in their illustrious careers at least prior to this season. Dwayne Wade, for example, has missed 116 games in four of his ten years in the league; 33 of them just last year alone. Chris Bosh sat out 25 games last season. And Ray Allen, who averages just around 26 MPG with the Heat, has missed 121 games in four different seasons throughout his career and didn’t play in 36 games last year.
Most teams in the league have suffered major injuries to their top players this season while the Heat have enjoyed virtually, an injury-free one. Their overall team health has been one of their biggest allies so far this year. If it continues this will only help them reach and perhaps surpass the Lakers record. If it doesn’t, it could affect their streak…
Scrutiny: In the last decade we have become a society overwhelmed by Social Media. The internet has been both friend and enemy to superstars in all facets of sports and entertainment. From a Kardashian with a ‘baby bump’, to a Tiger Woods and his philandering and then ending up with a golf club through his windshield, and even to LeBron and his ‘Decision’ to take his talents to Miami a few years ago. Twitter, for those of you who haven’t kept track, just turned 7 years old this week!
The 1972 Lakers were not nationally televised or even aired regionally on the major networks on a regular basis for every one of their 82 games. A lot of people found out the results of their games from newspapers; the next morning. And, of course, the sport was not as widely followed by many others so there were those who just weren’t interested.
Scrutiny of the players today brings added pressure and although they are all professionals, even professionals can cave under pressure. It’s an intangible to be sure, but one that the ’72 Lakers did not have to experience.
Unconvincing victories: There has been a sign of late that the rigors of the NBA schedule has begun to have an impact on this Miami team. Winning 25 games in just 49 nights can do that… Their recent games against the Celtics and the Cavs illustrates this point as they fell behind by double digits in both of them and needed to go on extended rolls in order to garner the victory. A win is a win. We get it. But just in their last six games, they’ve eked out three of those W’s by 4 points (Phil), 2 points (Celtics) and 3 points (Cavs). Is it a sign? Don’t know. It’s just something to consider..
Case in point. When the Knicks won 18 games in a row during the 1969-’70 season (the first to accomplish that feat up until that time) in most of those games, the starting five were on the bench in the fourth quarter because of their enormous leads. The same for many of the ’72 Lakers victories. All we’ve noticed is that the gap has narrowed a bit of late for the Heat. It might not end their streak as only a red flag has been raised.
Their chances of pulling off this incredible feat is definitely within their grasp and very attainable. We say this because starting with the Cavs game on March 20th, the next ten games that the Heat face have a combined winning percentage of just .399. That could only help them in their quest.
If they go on to win a second consecutive NBA Championship as well as breaking the win-streak, that would place them in the top 10 of anyone’s list of the greatest NBA teams of all times. Although huge fans of Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, we do not accept the notion that the Heat aren’t really that great a team and that the other teams in the league are just bad. Weren’t there bad teams in 1972? Weren’t there bad teams in 1996 when the Bulls went 72-10?
For the moment, the focus is on an unbelievable winning streak by the Miami Heat. Pat Riley, a member of that 1972 Lakers team said back then that L.A’s 33 game winning streak would never be broken. The Heat are out to prove that they don’t want to sound like a broken record…they just want to break it!