L.A. Times: Sorry, Lakers fans. The Chicago Bulls’ record-setting 72-10 campaign won’t be topped this season.
At least that’s what Phil Jackson said Wednesday, and he’d probably know a thing or two about such success. He was the Bulls’ coach when they set the NBA standard for victories in 1995-96.
He wasn’t being critical when he said the Lakers (15-2) wouldn’t do it this season. Nor was he throwing in the towel by conceding it wouldn’t happen.
It didn’t even seem like he was inspiring the team with a publicly delivered “us-against-them” tactic. He might have just been telling the truth, at least from his perspective.
“I don’t think there’s any chance that we’re going to get anywhere close to 70 wins,” he said. “I’m not going to say that we can’t win 60, but I don’t think that there’s a chance [at 70] — and that’s if everything goes well health-wise. Traveling in the West is just too difficult. Changing time zones, it just makes it very difficult to be consistent night in and night out on the road.”
Jackson has said in the past that centrally located teams (such as, well, Chicago) aren’t as fatigued because they never have cross-country trips. In fact, Kobe Bryant spoke with him a few years ago about the favorable geography of that Bulls team.
“Chicago is smack-dab in the middle, so the travel time isn’t as big as going from the West Coast all the way to the East Coast. It’s a three-hour trip either way you look at it,” Bryant said Wednesday. “Those players are more well-rested, have more energy, better legs. It’ll be extremely difficult for any team to do that now, particularly a team that’s on the West Coast.”
For what it’s worth, Jackson also didn’t think Boston (18-2) or Cleveland (15-3) would hit 70 victories.
“That would be a pretty difficult task,” he said.