Tag: 72 wins


Phil Jackson says Lakers can’t win 70, but Heat could


Phil Jackson is in mid-season mind games form.

People have started asking if the 8-0 Lakers could win 72 games — they’ve looked pretty dominant and they don’t even have Andrew Bynum in the fold yet.

It’s not going to happen, we all know it and Phil Jackson has said so before. But when asked again today, he took the chance to put a little more heat on the Heat, as Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles reports.

“It’s not going to happen [for us],” Jackson said about the 70-win talk surrounding his team after the Lakers’ shootaround Thursday morning in preparation for their game against the Denver Nuggets. “The schedule’s too tough. The travel is extenuating in the Western Conference, there’s very difficult time zone changes that you go through and all the stuff that happens. And that’s disregarding the idea that you can play with all your players for the rest of the season.

“Everything has to just break perfect for that to happen, plus the team has to be very, very resilient and very, very capable of filling in for one another at multiple positions….”

“I think this Miami team could.”

“They’re talented enough to do that,” he continued. “They may not be deep enough quite yet or have all their persons in place and teamwork just down, but if they stay together, they have a good chance. They have a very talented team.”

If you think that wasn’t thrown in there to just add a little more pressure to the Heat, you haven’t been watching Jackson the last couple decades. He lives for little digs like that, little things to try and plant in the Heat’s mind. Although, in this case, we’re all kind of thinking it. Not this year, but maybe if they get better role players….

The Lakers and 72 wins? Phil Jackson isn’t into it.

Image (1) pjackson_finals-thumb-250x140-13332.jpg for post 2458

Before the season the talk was about the Heat and 72 wins, with everybody sane saying it wouldn’t happen and wasn’t worth the effort. But that never stops the talk.

But the Lakers? They are off to a 7-0 start. They look deeper, they have a healthy Kobe Bryant and a rested Pau Gasol and an inspired Lamar Odom. And they haven’t even gotten Andrew Bynum in the fold yet.

Why not the Lakers and 72 wins? Because Phil Jackson isn’t convinced these Lakers play good enough defense, for one. Also, he’s been down that road and knows a lot of things have to fall your way. Here is his quote from via the Daily News.

“In ’92, after the first championship (with the Bulls), I think we’re 46-3 or 43-6, something like that around the All-Star break,” Jackson recalled. “The owner called me up and said, ‘I hope you’re not trying to win the most games ever won in one season.’

“And I said, ‘Well, we have a lot of depth. We have a young team. I’m not trying to wear them out. We’re just trying to use momentum and win games.’

“That team ended up winning 67 games. They had a little letdown at the end of the season. You get a feel like teams know how to win games and know how to turn it on at the end. They know how to expend the right amount of energy to win a ballgame.

“That really happened with the team in ’95-96. They knew how to blow teams out and put them away in the early part of the second period. Everything kind of fell into place for us, also.

“We went on a long road trip and three of the five teams or eight teams we played on that road trip had injuries to players who were important players. We won seven out of eight games on that road trip. Things like that happened.”

There you go. I’m not going to disagree with Phil Jackson.

Stan Van Gundy: Heat roster better than any of Jordan's Bulls rosters


Thumbnail image for SVan_Gundy.jpgNo doubt the Heat are going to be good. Very good. But expectations some comparisons and expectations are getting a little ridiculous.

Stan Van Gundy is happy to feed the mania, as he did with Dan LeBatard on 790 the Ticket in Miami:

“If I look at what the Bulls did winning 72 games and I look at the Heat roster, I am going to tell you that the Heat roster is better than any roster that Michael Jordan played with the Bulls. I don’t think that people predicting them breaking the win total and being in the 70s and the whole thing, I don’t think those are expectations that are out of line based on their roster… Dwyane Wade is certainly, in my opinion anyway, as good as he was, is better than Scottie Pippen. Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc. Mike Miller is every bit as good a shooter as (John) Paxson or (Steve) Kerr or anybody they put there. Plus, he’s 6′8″. If you start going down the list, I don’t think there is any question that the roster the Heat have is as talented a roster if not more so as any roster there has ever been in the NBA.”

Van Gundy is a pretty straight shooter, he says what he thinks.

But he also gets the game. The Heat are a top rival for Van Gundy’s Magic in the East and one way to knock them down a peg is to set the expectations for them so unrealistically high that even a very good season is perceived as a failure. Saying they will win 72 their first season together is way too high a bar (remember how long those Bulls had been together when they did it, and it was the second year after a diluting league expansion).

This is one way to start injecting some doubt into a team — have everyone around them saying they are not as good as they should be.

It may not work, but it’s a smart strategy for Van Gundy to try.

Bosh: "We have to win a championship"


bosh-heat.jpgThey may not yet realize just how hard it will be (well, one of them does), but Miami’s big three gets what the expectations they have created are:

“We have to win a championship,” forward Chris Bosh said….

“I think so, because of the situation we’ve brought to ourselves,” he said. “With this group that we’ve assembled, we know we have to win a championship.

“We signed up for it. We know that everything is championship. We need to win a championship.”

That was Bosh on the Dan Patrick Show today, as reported by our own Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel.

Bosh also scoffed at the idea of a 72-win season for the Heat, noting that the core of the Bulls team that set that record had been together for years.

There was 72-win talk by the fans of the Lakers and Cavaliers last season, then those teams won 57 and 61 games, respectively. People don’t realize how ridiculous 72 wins is, how unlikely we ever are to see that record broken. Also, Phil Jackson theorized that only a team in the Midwest — where the time change from coast-to-coast on travel is not as severe — could pull off that many wins. Miami, obviously, right on a coast.

The Heat are going to win a lot of regular season games, however. What Bosh and his pals also know is those wins will be considered a failure without a trophy to go with it.

Jeff Van Gundy says the Heat will break Bulls' record of 72 wins


Thumbnail image for Jvangundy.jpgOh, good. This should go over well.

Jeff Van Gundy, in an interview with the Miami Herald, thinks the Heat will break the ’96 Bulls’ record of 72 wins, and will challenge the ’72 Lakers’ record for consecutive wins of 33. No, seriously. He went out and said what a lot of people are thinking:

`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.

Oh, okay, then. Tell us how you really feel, Jeffster. Well, I’m sure the normally pessimistic Van Gundy had some reservations about how this team will come together, the same way everyone else has questioned them, somehow glossing over the ridiculous amount of talent they have. Right?

“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.”

I’m sure these comments will be received rationally and without overreaction from both commenters on this blog, and pundits and fans worldwide.

The fact is that this kind of talent combination has rarely been seen in the NBA over the past 30 years. Expansion, the salary cap, and the market have all conspired to prevent such an uneven distribution of talent. For all the worries about chemistry, their lack of size, their egos, and everything else, this is a ridiculous amount of talent. We’re talking about some of the top players in the NBA, arguably three of the top five, all suiting up in the same color jerseys for 82 games (well, okay, they’re likely to coast and sit at the end, but you get what I’m tossing out there).

Van Gundy’s remarks should be well regarded. He’s been around the NBA for quite a while. He’s seen greatness first hand, and isn’t one to throw out that kinds of lofty praise.

That said, I’m sure the Heat would rather Van Gundy hadn’t made that kind of statement. More expectations? Just what they need.