Jeff Van Gundy predicts Heat break the Bulls 72 win record

Per the Miami Herald:

``They will break the single-season win record [of 72],'' Jeff Van Gundy
said. ``And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers' 33-game
[winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a
remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose
two games in a row this year.

``They have put together a much better roster than anybody
could ever have expected,'' Van Gundy added. ``There is now no good way
to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are
just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that
they will score at will.

``And with Erik Spoelstra
coaching, they will be in the top three defensive teams in the league,
as well. The other 29 teams better hope the lockout gets moved up a
year.''

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I wouldn't ever predict that a team is going to win  72 games.  It's like predicting a no hitter just because a great pitcher is on the mound.   There's so many things that have to break in the Heat's favor for this to happen.

No injuries.

No off shooting nights.

No boredom as the season winds down and the playoffs are coming.

It's a ton of work by their big three to make this type of record happen because they don't really have all that much depth to win if they aren't playing huge minutes.   Are they going to go balls out every night to win and wear themselves out?

I think they have the best chance of any team in recent history to chase the record, but it's not going to be that easy.

Filed under: News

Tags: 72 wins, chicago bulls, miami heat

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  • As much as I hate to say it, he's probably right about some things. I seriously doubt they'll be very good defensively, however. If they're really smart they won't worry about the record and will focus on being ready for the playoffs.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    Krzyzewski said when those three were on the floor, the USA team played its best defense. I hope you're right.

  • Yeah I'm sure he does want the Heat to break the Bulls record cause he has never been a fan of Chicago or L.A. This guy is obviously still bitter that he never had any success against the Bulls when he was with the knicks as an assistant coach and that the Bulls really never considered him for their coaching vacancy. That's why he's exactly where he needs to be and thats calling games on t.v. The Heat might have a shot at the record but everything will have to fall into place as Doug mentioned. Van Gundy need to realize that teams will be coming at the Heat hard every night and as we have all seen from the glimpse of the schedule that the league is not giving the Heat no time to rest with their first three games against Boston Orlando and L.A. The Heat can be beat but it will take a total team effort on defense and I for 1 am glad that we have the coach that was able to slow down the champion Lakers enough to almost pull out another championship for the Celtics. We all have to see how the Heat will gel before we hand them the 96 Bulls record. There are some good teams in the east that the Heat will have to play more than once and the teams in the west is always a challenge. They have their work cut out for them in order to win 73 games. They shouldn't worry about the record cause if they don't win the championship, they will be the ultimate failure every year that they don't win the title.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Excuse my error on the Heats schedule, the L.A. game will be later but they still have some tough games with Orlando and Boston and 2 games in 4 nights.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Teams will be playing hard against them every night until they steamroll the league and demoralize any probability of a shitty team even competing with them, let alone winning. I imagine that horrible teams will pack it in as they always do.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I'd like to bet against Van Gundy on this.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    1. Van Gundy after he started working on TV talks for the sake of talking. I have heard him on ESPN 1000 so many times now. He is good on TV but I guess he is trying to talk too much. That said, I do think the Heat have a good chance of having 72 wins.
    2. Maybe Van Gundy hates the Heat so much(remember they got rid of his brother and wasn't JVG somersaulted by a Heat player)...that he is trying to play reverse confidence with them.
    3. If they have their 2nd game of a back to back on the road against a good team,,,then there is a good chance of them losing those games. But I am concerned many teams packing it in because they are demoralized or stop believing in winning against them. Also, remember LBJ is the king of regular season games. He will dominate big time during regular season when teams are not so well prepared against him.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    72 wins! REALLY?? I really don't believe the Heat will be as good defensively as the Celtics were a few years ago, not even as good as the current Lakers. Forget about it.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Van Gundy is wrong a lot. So this isn't something that worries me. Injuries can change that teams makeup really fast, they aren't deep.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Of course they have a chance but I doubt it's something they go after this season. It will be much easier in season 2, 3 or 4 if they remove the pressure of capturing a championship first. I'm looking forward to doing battle in the ECF year after year.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Let them think they will steamroll to a 72 season easily. Let them overrate themselves and I don't think they will make it. Lose just 10 games is not easy. Look at our 72 win season here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/CHI/1996_games.html
    We lost to Indy twice and even lost against the Raptors, allthough they were not very good. And yes we lost 2 games in a row that season. So I want to see it before I believe it.

  • In reply to rodman:

    my biggest regret from those 2 seasons, was that as I recall we lost out last 2 home games each year finishing 39-2 at home thus not beating Bostons home record record of 40-1. Of course we would also have won 2 more games each year, giving us 74 and 71 in back to back years.

  • In reply to rodman:

    I too predict that Miami will be a threat to win 70 every year and will likely break the 72 win mark at least once. Lebron won 130 games over 2 years without Wade and Bosh, they only have to win 5-7 more games to hit 70 and break the record at 72.

    The only thing that makes me hope they might not do it is the article I read a long time ago about how Jordan was the most possessed demonic player in the history of the league that year, and he single handedly drove that team to try to win every game starting in the preseason.

    I am not sure anybody on Miami will be that driven, and maybe Southbeach itself costs them a few wins.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think the leap of 5-7 games from mid 60s to 70+ is a lot harder to do than going from say... 41 wins to 48.

    I say this because there are a number of teams that have won at least 60 games over the years. At least, it seems like it happens with a few teams every year, although just Cleveland last year. Year before it was Clevelenad (66), LA (65) and Boston (62).

    So I would argue with your position of saying they "only have to win 5-7 more games." I think it's easier said than done at that win total.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Adding Rodman to the Jordan/Pippen Bulls bumped them from a normal 60 win team to a 72 win team.

    Adding Wade and Bosh to any team with Lebron should add 5-7 wins no matter at what level the Lebron team is already at. As it is the Lebrons teams of the last 2 seasons lost most of their games when Lebron was resting.

    IF the big 3 stay healthy the record is in jeopardy.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Wasn't that Jordan's 1st full season back? After he was embarrassed in the playoffs the previous season (when he came back in March)?

    So it was Jordan/Rodman added to a 50 or so win team. And that Jordan was a man possessed who just had been away from the NBA for 2 years.

    Jordan was training like crazy to get ready and was perhaps more motivated than ever. Wade/Lebron/Bosh are throwing parties on South Beach and soaking each others' corks.

    I guess we'll see. I hope you're wrong.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    The normal win total for the Jordan/Pippen Bulls was around 60 something, check out the first 3 peat. 61, 67,57 for an average of slightly less than 62.

    Basically exchanging all the extra parts, but specifically adding Rodman instead of Horace Grant the second 3 peat team won 72,69,62 for an average of nearly 68, and Pippen missed the first 35 games of the 62 win season otherwise they win nearly 70 again.

    So just upgrading from Grant a near allstar to Rodman moved them from a 60 win team to a 70 win team. Adding Wade and Bosh to a 65 win Lebron team makes 70 seem like a lock and even 80 seem possible.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Um... Horace Grant was an All Star. Also in replacing him with Rodman they lost scoring. They made up for that with Sixth Man of the Year, Toni Kukoc. So you can then argue that the full season return of Jordan, addition of Dennis Rodman, & Toni Kukoc is what lead to the 72 win season. Plus you can't figure the record that Lebron had and add to it because he is playing with Wade and Bosh. You have to take last years Miami record and add to it how many wins James and Bosh will bring. I would say +20 wins from adding James and Bosh. That would put Miami at 67 Wins, falling short the record by five wins.

  • In reply to CPBuff22:

    Way to bring in the overlooked. Lebron and Bosh were added to Wade's team, not vice versa. Also, the team has been started from scratch. There are too many variables to grant them a 72 win season. Agree with Doug...

  • In reply to CPBuff22:

    While I would agree that the Heat appear to be the biggest threat to the 72-win record we've seen in a while, I would say it is far from a fait accompli.

    First, you have to question the desire of the Big 3 on this team. Do they really want to go down as the greatest team of all time? It appears evident that neither LeBron or Wade want to go down as the GOAT, and Bosh seems happy playing Batgirl to whomever emerges as Batman and Robin.

    Second, how will the spotlight affect them? MJ (and by association, the Bulls) were well acquainted with the media attention when they made the run for 72 (granted, it amped up considerably once Rodman came on-board). LBJ, Wade and Bosh are famous, but they are about to be put under a microscope the likes of which they haven't seen.

    Third, are they okay playing the role of villain? LeBron's hour-long televised middle-finger-at-Cleveland may do more harm to their chances at 72 than does age, injury or many other factors. Scoff at this one all you want, but how is that chap named Woods doing lately? Unless you're someone that couldn't care less (Kobe, MJ), not being well-liked when you're used to being the center of attention can be a real mind screw.

    Finally, how will the NBA refs handle the Heat? Without sounding like an anti-Stern conspiracy nut, I think it is safe to say that NBA officials seem to hold a sway over the games much more than any other refs in any other major sport. If the Heat get all the 'star-calls', they'll be a load to beat. If games are called fairly, I could see teams like Boston, Orlando, LA or even the Bulls kill them inside and grind out enough wins to make 70 (let alone 72) seem like a pipe dream. We forget sometimes, but MJ and Pippen were killer players in the post consistently. While LBJ could murder teams down low, he seems far too content to play from the outside; as do Bosh and Wade (I understand Wade...every time someone blows on him, he seems to go down like a lump of potatoes, and steals the 'no way I can ever play again' face from Vince Carter).

    Maybe it is me, but when you're accused of being a quitter (LBJ, Bosh), and the allegations don't seem that unbelievable/far-fetched, I have a hard time envisioning all-time greatness in your future. Not saying it can't or won't happen, but I definitely am not standing in line to lick the Popsicle like SVG.

  • In reply to saigman:

    Meant JVG. Was thinking about writing something about how Riley undermined SVG the last time the Heat were loaded...hence, the mixup.

  • In reply to saigman:

    Wow ... go on Vacation for a couple weeks and miss out on a great topic like this one.

    There are several very good reasons why the Heat are not even close to the '96 Bulls that haven't been brought up ... but I'll have to save them for another time I guess.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Defense and an MJ-like will to prove a point will be the keys to the Heat challenging for 70+ wins. Spoelstra will have them playing solid team defense, but the Bulls had 3 of the best (and smartest) team AND individual defenders at their respective positions in the NBA in MJ, Pip, and Rodman. You can't say that about anyone on the Miami Heat roster.

    And then there's MJ, who was on a mission to prove his - and by extension, the Bulls' - dominance after being embarrassed in the playoffs the year before. MJ and Phil have said that they didn't think about 70 wins until after the All-Star break when they had that ridiculous record but I have a feeling MJ was thinking about it long before then and just kept it to himself.

    LeBron and DWade may have a chip on their shoulders from all the hate they're getting now but I think their focus will be to win a title. Whether or not they can maintain that maniacal approach to every game in the regular season remains to be seen.

  • In reply to rodman:

    Thanks for the link. To think they were 41-3 at one point. That's insane. I really don't think another team can touch that record.

    It's like DiMaggio's hitting streak. I just can't see it happening again.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    They're not making the Finals, let alone beating the Lakers. Van Gundy's a dumbass, as usual.

  • In reply to rpmorri:

    They may not beat LA in the finals, but they should definately make the finals, who is keeping them out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think the Celtics are the team to beat in the East until someone proves otherwise. Even if you discount the fact the Celtics were conference champs last year, I still think they match up well with the Heat. Celtics have a lot of beef in the frontcourt which Miami can't touch and Celtics match up pretty well at 1-3.

    Orlando is going to be better than last year also. And hey, Bulls shouldn't be too bad either.

    It probably depends on how the brackets shake out too.

  • In reply to rpmorri:

    Some of you guys need to lighten up. You guys are acting like its pure fact that the Heat WILL beat the 72 win season record. I'll tell you why its not.

    First and foremost, quit looking at this with fantasy basketball glasses like ESPN. Just because Lebron led his team to winning all those games in the regular season in Cleveland, that doesn't mean he'll do it in Miami. Not if Wade has anything to say about it especially.

    You have to realize that those three have overinflated balloons for heads. One of them is bound to pop. I just don't see Lebron or Wade playing follow the leader, whoever it turns out to be. Sure, its Wade's team, but do you really think that Lebron, after ripping Cleveland's heart out, and becoming a complete villain everywhere except Miami, that he wouldn't want to prove to everybody that he's still the self-proclaimed chosen one? If he does, I don't see how Wade could allow himself to take a backseat to him, even though it supposed to be Wade's team. Bosh on the other hand, I could see being a team player, but if they tell him to play center, I could see him having a beef with the team as well.

    The difference between the 96 Bulls, and this frankenstein monster that Riley has made, is not only the fact that Bigway mentioned; that Jordan single-handedly pushed his team to win that year, but also that they had team players like Pippen and Rodman who knew their place, which was the backseat of Jordan's metaphorical Chevy Blazer. The only way the Heat could pull that off is if someone steps up as the unequivocal leader, and the other two are welcome to being backseaters. I'll bet that two of the three might not like that idea very much.

    The other thing you need to look at is the bench that the Heat have behind those three. Unless they plan on playing all 48 minutes a game, every game, that bench wouldn't hold up for s*** while they rested.

    But hey, I could be wrong. Maybe James is ready to be Wade's Pippen, or vice versa. Maybe the bench is filled with solid players that have been waiting for just this moment to show that they belong in the NBA. Maybe they will win 73 games. Hell, they could go undefeated.

    Or maybe, just maybe, this whole charade will blow up in their faces, that tempers and rifts will flare over who gets the ball and the leader badge, and one or two of them will want a trade out of Miami within 2-3 years.

    Problem is we dont know yet until the season starts. So please, stop crowning the Heat like they've already won something besides the free agent sweepstakes. Not until they actually play a game first.

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    In reply to rpmorri:

    That Bulls team had 3 titles already, the GOAT and the greatest coach of all time. I remember they went into halftime of a lot of those 72 wins losing. That was their M.O. Toy with the opponent in the first half like they really didn't care what happened, let Phil make his halftime adjustments, and put the gamout of reach by the end of the third.

    The Heat might get there, but they're for damn sure not gonna start there. I'm going to go out on a limb in fact predict that when the Heat win their next title
    Chris Bosh will NOT be there for it.

    But maybe I'm just a hater as onebeloved poster has pointed out to me :)
    e

  • Don't Miller and Haslem play the same positions as the "Big 3"? So their 4th/5th caliber guys won't even be on the floor at the same time as Wade, James, and Bosh.

  • In reply to dwestburg:

    I may be incorrect, but I believe they'll all start and play significant minutes together. Haslem will, initially, play an undersized center position, Miller will be a wing shooter, and LBJ (more likely) will be a point-forward with Wade also handling and bringing the ball up.

  • I thought Bosh was dead set against playing center? Has he changed his stance now that he's on the Heat?

  • The suns have been better offensively, the Mavs too...

  • Why is everybody crowning the Heat? They have won nothing yet, and a great team on paper guarantees nothing- case in point, 2004 team USA. The Bulls have a chance to take 4 out of 7 from them.

  • Late to the party again. Don't you guys have anything else to do besides laz around on a Sunday morning gabbing on here?(kidding).

    Seriously, when the Celtics made the deal with their buds McHale etc. to get Ray Allen and Garnett people made them instant favorites to win it all. I was like hold on?!

    But they were right. I imagine with their talent combining Wade and LeBron(and Rupaul/Wade's squeeze) they probably will ride to the championship, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

    While I think they probably will beat the Lakers as the Geritol gang(Celtics) all but did this season/Finals, I wouldn't count out Phil or Kobe fresh off what should have been a loss with Kobe having to be rescued by Derrick Fisher from a comeback fo sorts.

    If they toughen up enough defensively with Barnes, Artest, Kobe on a mission of redemtpion/the ultimate challenge against both Wade and LeBron with Phil's possibly ultimate challenge as well. Then what if they have a healthy Bynum, Gasol etc.?

    I'd still give Miami the edge, and a probable championship. But after that I think things could really fall apart. You're talking about Wade, Mike Miller, House, Ilgauskus, Haslem's put a lot of miles on his tread there could be some serious breakdowns there.

    My gut tells me due partly to bad karma from the shitty way LeBron treated Cleveland fans, and Wade's lies, and usery along with Riley's galaxy of bad karma turning players into punks from N.Y to South beach that's a lot of funk.

    I seriously doubt the best laid scams of mice and cowardly men will not go awry. I say thet get three championships tops. And after that Lebron's cowardly ways will catch up hard when he has to carry a team again/doesn't have the rig job with big bro/Daddy Wade.

    And finally within the next year or two I'm not prepared to count the emergence of Derrick Rose as a superstar and Noah elevating to all-star value/impact out. The Bulls could possibly break through if they can get one more piece or if Taj, Asik, Brewer, C.J; a couiple of those guys come on like gangbusters. And I just won't count Derrick out.

  • Normally, I would agree with you, but if the MLE exception stays in place, the Heat could acquire a quality player every offseason and continue to get better for the next few years, especially with the attraction of playing with those guys and living in South Beach.

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