In the midst of the Miami Heat’s 25 (and counting) win streak, ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne caught up with Laker great Jerry West, to discuss the Heat’s shot to surpass the NBA record 33 game winning streak, set by West’s Lakers in 1971-72.
West was optimistic about the Heat’s chances to keep the winning streak going, seeing very little resistance from the teams Miami is scheduled to face.
“I think [the Heat] have an incredible chance to do it,” West said.”It may not end,” he said. “That’s why I think it’s so remarkable. I look at the schedule and I see one team on there that’s a terrific team and obviously that’s the Spurs. That would be a game that I would be concerned about, playing in San Antonio and they’re going to have Tony Parker back by then.”
“There’s gonna be more and more focus on the games, and I think it makes the players focus more on trying to achieve the record that everyone said couldn’t be broken. I think they’ve got a great chance to do it myself.”
“They’ve got great 3-point shooting and they’re never out of a game because of that. Then they’ve got the best player in the game that does all the little things. I’m sure any coach would love to coach him because he does so much. I never thought this streak would live forever. No, not in today’s games. … I just think it’s a streak that could very easily be broken this year. I really believe that.”
While many hope for their records to stand, West would be perfectly content to see his record fall to LeBron’s Heat, especially because it opens up discussion about other “unbreakable” records in sports.
“You ask me, ‘Does it bother me?’ Absolutely not. I think it’s great for the league. I’m excited for my friend, Pat Riley, to be able to replicate this now as an executive. But as a player, that’s pretty special.”
“I think this is what makes sports so intriguing,” he said. “Is a number out there — DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Will anyone ever do that? Football, the Dolphins, undefeated. A lot of people don’t think those things are possible. Well, they are possible, particularly in basketball. I think you get a real unique team, and Miami has a unique team.
The Logo also offered praise and support for LeBron James.
“He’s an amazing player,” West said Thursday. “And, frankly, I’m thrilled for him because of all the negative things said about him as a player. He’s improved as a player, but more importantly as a person.”
West compared the strengths of his and Wilt’s team with LeBron and Wade’s.
“The one thing they’ve got going for them is defensively they can really get after you because of the ability of Wade and particularly LeBron,” West said. “They’re ball hawks, and when you turn the ball over, it’s going to be a layup.
While the Heat are relentless on the perimeter, West says the Lakers have the advantage inside.
“Our strength was in our backcourt in terms of scoring [with West and Gail Goodrich],” West said. “But we had the best rebounding in the league, and we had the best shot-blocking [with Wilt Chamberlain].”
Who on the Heat could have matched up with Chamberlain?
“No one,” West said.
In the end, discussing which team is better might come down to LeBron and Wade vs. Chamberlain and West.
What do you think, Laker Nation? Will the Heat beat the 72’ Lakers’ record?
If so, what does that mean historically for the 2013 HEAT and LeBron James?