Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James battled the Golden State Warriors practically single-handed during last June’s NBA Finals. It wasn’t enough.
Now everybody who pays attention to the NBA wonders if the rest of the league has enough to prevent Stephen Curry and company from breaking Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record 72 wins in a single season. As improbable as it seemed that any team would ever reach 70 wins again, the Warriors’ pursuit of 73 seems not only possible, but almost plausible, as the league reached All-Star Weekend.
The Warriors need to finish the season 25-5 to get to 73 wins. Through 52 games, they’ve gone 48-4. The 95-96 Bulls were 47-5 after 52 games.
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James, asked about Golden State’s chances to do it, told reporters on Saturday, via Cleveland.com:
"Records are meant to be broken, so it is possible."
James said the Warriors’ great depth, and the ability of players up and down the roster to accept their roles, has them positioned to make history.
"I think they’ve used last year to take them to a new height," James said. "Obviously with Steph and Draymond and Klay they spearhead the whole thing, but everybody else, from Iggy (Finals MVP Andre Iguodala) to (Leandro) Barbosa to (Harrison) Barnes to (Andrew) Bogut, all the way down, those guys fall into place. They know their role, they know what they need to do every single night. "They play their roles individually as how they should play. And they don’t step outside that box and that’s what makes them so great."
The Warriors, who entered the All-Star break on an 11-game win streak, have talked more and more openly about going for the record. And they should. Seasons like this don’t happen all the time, obviously. Those ’95-96 Bulls are the only one team in history to win at least 70 games. Even the 1971-72 Lakers who won an NBA record 33 consecutive games topped out at 69 wins.