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Can the Heat reach 70?

In the 1995-1996 season the Chicago Bulls took the NBA by storm and won a record 72 games. Let me start by saying this is my favorite team of all time. This was the summer between my 7th and 8th grade year and I felt like I watched every game(my 3 year old sister could say all the names in the starting lineups)It was MJ’s first full year back, Rodman’s first year with the team, Scottie Pippen was at his best, Toni Kukoc was the best 6th man in the league, Steve Kerr was the best shooter, and Phil Jackson was the best coach. It was an NBA record for wins in a year.

Earlier in the week Jeff Van Gundy made the claim that he thinks this years version of the Miami Heat can match or beat this record. I have examined both teams schedules and I have my prediction on how the Heat will do. Lets go month by month…

October

The better gel early, they play Boston in Boston on opening night and Orlando 3 days later in their home opener. But they also play the Nets and the Sixers. Given that LeBron lost his last game in Cleveland in Boston and the Heat were bounced from the playoffs by the Celtics last year and the immense pressure of starting off well I say the Heat start 4-0. The Bulls won their first 5 games before losing on the road to a good Orlando Magic team playing without Shaq. The Bulls were also without Dennis Rodman. Penny Hardaway poured in 36 points while MJ had a bad game and the Bulls lost by 6. 5-1 through 6 games.

November

This is the most important month for the Heat. It is important they get off to a great start taking advantage of teams still getting used to each other. The Bulls started their season by going 12-2. The Heat play only 4 road games this month 2 tough and two very winnable. They also play NBA doormats Washington, New Jersey, Toronto, and Philadelphia this month. Possible loss chance Dallas and Orlando on the Road, and Boston, Phoenix and Utah at home. My prediction through 18 games on the for the Heat 15-3 (the Bulls through at same point 16-2).

December

Last month was most important but December will be the hardest early on  and second hardest next to March. They have 10 road games this month which include, LeBron’s first game back in Cleveland, Phoenix, Houston, Sacramento, Golden State, Milwaukee, New York, Washington, Utah, and at the Lakers on Christmas Day. They also have to play Atlanta at home as well as Dallas again. If they can make it through this stretch the record could start looking real. The Bulls on the other hand won 13 in a row to start December before losing to the Pacers. Through 28 games the Bulls were a cool 25-3 my prediction for the Heat 23-5.

January

This month is highlighted by a 5 game road trip ending with their first trip to Chicago. They also play OKC for the first time at the end of the month which should be a great game. They have to play Milwaukee back to back games and also get the Clippers, Detroit, Toronto, and Cleveland again. The tough games are Golden State again as well as Portland on the road. January is when the Bulls hit 5th gear winning 18 in a row going 31-1 in 32 games.(This team was so good!) So if you are counting at home through 42 games the Bulls were 39-3. The Heat will be 37-5.

February

More road games for the Heat in February than home games. 7 of the 12 games they play. This is the month where the Heat will be able to get some rest for the home stretch. Tough games at Orlando, Boston, and Chicago are offset by home games against Indiana, The Clippers, Washington, and the Knicks. Plus winnable road games at Detroit, Indiana, Charlotte, and Toronto. Tough month to judge with the All-star break in the middle. February of 1996 was the only month when the Bulls lost back to back regular season games and it actually doubled their losses to 6. Through 56 games the Bulls were 50-6, I think this is when the Heat can keep pace or they will lose it completely my prediction 48-8.

March

Heading into March the Heat will hover close to the 10 loss mark which will motivate them just a little more. I think this is a big month for Mr. Wade. Playing only 5 road games this month that being said MARCH IS A BEAR! The start of the month goes like this in order Orlando, San Antonio, Chicago, Portland, The Lakers, Memphis, Spurs again, and finally OKC. 8 games in 14 days against tough Western conference teams and Chicago and Atlanta! That being said Wade turns it up a gear and I think LeBron goes on a triple double streak of 6 games. After March Heat record through 75 games 66-9 which was exactly the same as the Bulls.

April

Here is where it gets really interesting. The Heat gunning for history taking every teams best shot have 7 games for history. Do they go for it or rest for the playoffs? I say they go after it! Lets go back in time first, the Bulls finished 6-1 in their final 7 games. Which moved their record to 72-10. All the games were against relatively easy teams. The Heats final seven games look like this Minnesota and New Jersey on the Road, Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Boston at home, and finally Atlanta and Toronto on the road. My prediction they are 69-12 heading into the Toronto game. Toronto will be playing for lottery ping pong balls but will give the Heat one of their toughest games of the year. I think the Heat will win and reach 70 games. Final record 70-12. The Bulls record is safe but the Heat become only second team ever to reach 70.

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