Last time the NBA had a strike-shortened season was 1999, when they only played 50 games, and the top team had 37 wins.
Every year since at least one team has won at least 50 games and most years quiet a few. There also have been several teams who have won 60 or more, including the Bulls winning 62 last season.
With this season coming close to the end, it is no sure thing that any team—let alone multiple teams—will win 50 games.
There are just under two weeks to go in the regular season, and no team has yet to reach the 50-win plateau and only three teams still have a chance for it. Those three are the league-leading Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs.
Notice how the Miami Heat are not in the mix. Their loss to the Bulls on Thursday was their 17th, which means the best they can do this season is 49 wins.
The Bulls, with a league-high 45 wins, just need to go 5-2 down the stretch with key matchups against the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers. Both the games against the Pacers and Heat are on the road.
Going 5-2 doesn't sound so easy with those three on the schedule and knowing that two are on the road. Their other four games are against the Bobcats, Pistons, Wizards and Cavaliers, with two being at home and two being on the road.
Both the Thunder and Spurs are in action Saturday night, and both need to win out to have a chance at 50 wins since both already have 16 loses. The Spurs have nine games left to play, while the Thunder have only seven.
In the Spurs final nine games they will have to face the Lakers, Warriors and Suns twice each as well as taking on the Cavaliers, Blazers and Kings all once. With the way coach Greg Popovich has been resting players, it is doubtful they win out with that schedule.
The Spurs are the only team in the league to have had an 11-game winning streak this season, and they have done it twice. Each time they lost the 12th game with key players like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker taking the night off.
With the Spurs winning in 1999, you have to wonder if Popovich knows something everyone else doesn't.
While the Thunder don’t have all the repeat opponents the Spurs have, they have plenty of tough games. They have road games against both the Clippers and the Lakers.
Actually, five of their final seven are on the road, with their two home games coming to end the season against the Kings and Nuggets.
Oklahoma City's only repeat opponent is the Kings, who they play once at home and once on the road. With the Kings having three games left against the Spurs and Thunder combined, they will have a lot to say on who wins the Western Conference.
Another important thing to remember with these three is what they have left to play for.
The Bulls have battled injuries all season and hold a 3.5-game lead over the second-place Heat in the East. The Thunder and Spurs are battling out West for home court, while also trying to catch the Bulls for the best overall record and home court throughout the playoffs.
With less than two weeks to go in the season, it really should be a fun race to follow.
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