The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 20, 2013

With Heat rolling, Lakers recall their record run



Gail Goodrich knew Miami would beat Boston the other night.

He knew even a 17-point deficit, the largest they had faced in six weeks, wouldn't stop LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

"Once they got back in the game, there was no doubt in my mind they were going to win," Goodrich said of the Heat's 105-103 victory Monday. "They just are better than everybody else."

So were the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Goodrich were a Big Three to rival what Miami has, the core of a team that racked up routs on the way to an NBA-record 33 straight victories. They rarely felt threatened, either by their opponent or the stress of the streak, making one of sports' most remarkable achievements seem rather routine.

"We had one of those teams that comes along every once in a while," West said. "The only bad thing about it is we were really too old to be able to sustain it. But it was easy. And when we lost, it was like, 'I can't believe we lost.' It was like two-and-a-half months. It was a very special time."

Miami has won 23 in a row heading into its game Wednesday at Cleveland. After that, it's home for Detroit and Charlotte, then off to Orlando, a four-game stretch against the bottom four teams in the Eastern Conference. So after years when no team came close to threatening their record, the Lakers recognize this could be the end of their time at the top.

"I really didn't think that that record, after really thinking about it, was going to be broken. Now, I'm starting to change my mind," Goodrich said during a phone interview. "I think they have a good shot at it."

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