Jeff Van Gundy to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD on the Miami Heat this season:
The Heat not only will be great, but historically great. So predicts the co-lead NBA analyst for ABC/ESPN.
They will break the single-season win record [of 72].
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. 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.
Steve Kerr of the ‘95-96 Bulls that went 72-10 commented on Van Gundy’s predictions:
I’m not trying to be Mercury Morris and root against anybody, but I don’t think it will happen again. There are too many variables, too many meaningless games, too many bad shooting nights, too much playoff preparation.
If anybody has a shot to do it, Miami does. If everything comes together perfectly, maybe they get to 70.
The over-obsession with players getting rings as badges of personal validation will overshadow any regular season records quest.
Unless everything comes easier than expected, the Heat will shut it down when needed before the playoffs to allow for the mounting of the best possible postseason.
Times have changed. Players would rather get rings than do their best to entertain the poor saps gullible enough to expect them to play all 82 regular season games.