The Miami Heat have the opportunity to become a special team in the next few seasons. Special enough to challenge the Chicago Bulls' record of 72-10 during the 1995-1996 season? The talk is already beginning, but it's unlikely to happen for this Miami Heat team.
Coming off their first championship with the core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the future is extremely bright. Add in the new signings of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, and the Heat are likely better than they were last season.
Last season, the Heat didn't dominate the NBA. In fact, they weren't even close to that. They finished the shortened season at 46-20. Translated to an 82-game season, the Heat's winning percentage would be good enough for 57.2 wins. Since you can't win .2 of a basketball game, we'll go with 57 wins. This is right around the 58 wins the Heat recorded in 2010-2011.
One of the reasons given why the Heat could reach the 72-10 mark is a weaker Eastern Conference. This may be the case, but the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics are all capable of beating the Heat once, if not twice.
Going back to a full-season's schedule, the Heat also have to play the Western Conference teams twice. The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers (especially if they land Dwight Howard) are also capable of beating the Heat.
Counting up those games, the Heat will play 15-18 games they could potentially lose. The Heat will still be favored to beat these teams on specific nights, but losing any six of these games isn't out of the question.
Last season, the Heat also lost plenty of games they should have won. They lost to the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks (twice). It's possible to blame the condensed schedule for not being up to the task every night, but none of those losses came as part of a back-to-back-to-back, and two came after days off.
Another reason the 72-10 talk is foolish is because of the Heat's recent history with injuries. In order to even get close to the mark, the Heat would have to stay healthy throughout the season. If any of the big three get hurt and miss an extended amount of action, 72-10 becomes extremely unrealistic.
The Heat's bench also features quite a bit of age now with the signings of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen. Those two don't have young bodies anymore and will likely need to take nights off in order to stay healthy for another championship run down the stretch.
Last season, Dwyane Wade had to battle through injuries to his knee and his finger, many times being forced to grind out games. Chris Bosh missed an extended amount of time during the playoffs with an abdominal injury.
Wade and Bosh definitely don't have iron-man qualities to them, which is why it's tough to imagine those two playing close to every game.
The Heat probably have a better chance to reach the 72-10 than any other team in recent years, but the task is not to be minimized. The Heat will need to win the games they are supposed to dominate and do well against stiffer competition. They will also need plenty of things to fall into place; for example, health.
It's not impossible that the Heat get close to or reach the 72-10 mark next season, but it's very unlikely.
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