Lakers, Celtics, Hornets still within reach of the Bulls 72-10 record


By Quan Luong

Pau Gasol (left) and the Lakers are currently on a two-game losing streak but with a solid bench they still have a shot at breaking the the Bulls record of 72 wins in a season. Courtesy of MCT.

It’s still early in the 2010-11 regular season, but there’s a chance the NBA’s elite teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Hornets, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat have an opportunity to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ NBA record of 72-10.

So far only three of these teams are currently on the verge of overcoming that record; Lakers, Celtics and Hornets.

Lakers (8-2): Los Angeles was off to a great start this season, but suffered back-to-back losses to the Denver Nuggets 118-112 and Phoenix Suns 121-116. They’ve won most of their games by 10-plus points, but won a few of them in an ugly win against the subpar teams at Staples Center:

·        112-110 win against Houston Rockets

·        108-103 win against Toronto Raptors

·        99-94 win against Minnesota Timberwolves

After winning these games,  the Lakers are now on a two-game losing streak. Does this mean they need Andrew Bynum back, before matters get worse?

They’ve been phenomenal with the addition of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. Two ways for the Lakers to break the Bulls’ all-time record is if everyone on the roster stays healthy throughout the season and if they’re not playing sloppy.

Celtics (8-2): Boston is keeping pace with the Lakers to see if they can dominate the Eastern Conference once again with the big three on the team; Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. With the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’ Neal, Von Wafer and Delonte West, the Celtics have upgraded their roster just like the Lakers and the Heat, but got a little better than last season. My problem with this team is their star players, other than Rajon Rondo, are aging, which affects the team. A devastating injury to their primary starting center Kendrick Perkins, who is out until January with a torn ACL, is going to be tough for the team to overcome. As of right now, Rondo is the only playmaker that can carry the team to the playoffs and into the NBA Finals.

Hornets (8-1): New Orleans remains as one of two one-loss teams in the NBA, beating their opposing teams one-by-one. Right now they’re on their A-game, but watch out though because later on they have to square off against the two reigning Western and Eastern Conference champions, Lakers and Celtics. I can tell that NBA fans are really surprised the Hornets are off to a solid start due to the fact they’ve beaten their toughest opponents Heat, Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs by close margins. With the addition of Trevor Ariza, Marco Belinelli, Willie Green, Jason Smith, Aaron Gray and Jerryd Bayless, the Hornets are mostly likely going to make the playoff, despite having a tough season last year. In addition, former Bobcat center Emeka Okafor is having a breakout season this year, ever since he struggled to fit in the Hornets’ tempo. If the New Orleans keeps up the winning alive, they may have an opportunity to break the 72-10 record, before other teams can.

Right now it’s not looking so good for the Heat (6-4) and Magic (7-3), since their current records are under the expectations level. Even if it’s still early this season, both teams have a slim percentage of breaking the Bulls 72-10 record, but it’s not likely going to happen anytime soon.