The 2007-2008 Boston Celtics were close to pulling off one of the all-time great feats: breaking the 1996 Chicago Bulls 72-10 record, which stood as the all-time single season record for most wins in a season.
At 29-3, Boston was on a roll. Led by veteran Paul Pierce, newly acquired All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and budding point guard Rajon Rondo had the new look Celtics in a position to do the unthinkable. The only problem was that it was January and there were still 50 games to play in the season.
The Celtics quickly let up, going 5-5 in the team’s next team games while finishing the season with a formidable 66-16 record. Despite winning an NBA Championship that season, Boston was unable to conquer another all-time feat.
One such team however, who could take down that record is the new look Miami Heat comprised of the ‘South Beach Trio.’
With the addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh teaming up with a re-signed Dwyane Wade, the Heat are already being hyped as a new all-time great according to long time NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy.
I would think that everybody would think they would have a great shot at it,” said Van Gundy, a former NBA head coach and current ABC/ESPN analyst. “I don’t know if I said they will or they have a great chance, whatever I said, I just think if they’re healthy, the discrepancy between their talent level and and the next level is so great, that I just don’t see how they lose games. I think they’re that good.
Miami’s talent level is unquestionable. Adding two veteran All-Stars, who are just reaching the prime of their careers, is something that doesn’t happen that often in the NBA.The ’96 Chicago Bulls had their own trio, but it was the addition of league bad-boy Dennis Rodman to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen that sent the Bulls over the top.
The Heat however, have now become the ‘Miami Globtrotters,’ as both James and Bosh bring superstar level talent to a team one year removed from a 47-35 record and an appearance in the playoffs. The newly dubbed ‘South Beach Trio’ creates one of the greatest collection of players in the NBA’s history, certainly receiving equal praise to teams like the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. Whether Van Gundy is right or not remains to be seen.
Like the Celtics and teams before them, winning 66 games alone is an amazing challenge and something a lot of teams never accomplish. It’s hard however -with such talent- to see the Heat struggling to make an attempt at breaking the ’96 Bulls record of 72-10. Wade, Bosh, and James aren’t the only pieces to the puzzle for the Heat.
Second year point guard Mario Chalmers is no slouch and should thrive with the presence of the trio of All-Stars by his side. The Heat also resigned center Joel Anthony, who could become a legitimate center along with bringing back reserve guard Carlos Arroyo. The biggest bench signing may have been veteran guard Mike Miller, who will definitely see plenty of time playing in a reserve role.
The essential gutting of the team’s roster was obviously a gift from God, or perhaps Miami Heat general manager Pat Riley giving the Heat and its fans a chance to be a part of history.In just a few short months we’ll see whether the Heat are Chicago Bulls worthy, or just another team that wins 65 games in a season.