During the 1995-96 season, the Chicago Bulls broke the record for wins in a season by going 72-10. No team has come very close to challenging them since then (the Mavericks won 67 games during the 06-07 season), but Miami has a chance of breaking it this year.
Two years ago, the Heat lacked the chemistry to break the record, as they began their campaign by going 9-8. Despite their subpar start, Miami was still able to finish second in the Eastern Conference with 58 wins.
While they were a force back then, the Heat are a lot stronger than they were during the 2010-11 season. LeBron James is without question the best player in the league and Mario Chalmers is now a solid starting point guard. They have also added Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Norris Cole to their squad, improving their defense and three-point shooting drastically.
With Derrick Rose out for a large part of the season with an ACL injury, the Heat are pretty much guaranteed to finish first in the East. Not only that, but there's no one who's even close to challenging Miami. Brooklyn is one big piece away, Indiana got worse by letting Darren Collison go, New York is weak at both guard positions and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are a year older for Boston.
With no real challenger, 72 wins is a very realistic target for the Heat. Not only do they have the best starting lineup in the league, they also have one of the best benches now with Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Norris Cole, who should have a bigger role next season.
They might lose the occasional game on a Western Conference road trip, but Miami should be favored in almost every game they play. Unlike last year, they won't be tired from back-to-back games and, should they stay healthy, they could end up tying or breaking the Bulls record.
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