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5 Reasons Why the Current Miami Heat Are Not Better Than the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers

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Why Miami Heat aren’t Better Than 1972 Los Angeles Lakers

Miami Heat
Greg M. Cooper- USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have recorded an otherworldly 23 straight wins, the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Forward LeBron James has spearheaded this miraculous streak, furthering his case for yet another MVP award. After securing a two-point victory over the banged up but resilient Boston Celtics squad at TD Garden, the Heat has a realistic chance at breaking the 33 game win streak set by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-1972 season. Miami was able to erase a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter as James hit the dagger to silence the Boston crowd. A come from behind win on the road in a hostile environment against a top tier team in the Eastern Conference can go a long way in helping the players believe they can actually beat out the unheralded streak of the 192 Lakers.

The Heat play the worst four teams in the Eastern conference in their upcoming games as they hit the road to play the Cleveland Cavaliers, then host the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats before visiting the lowly Orlando Magic. There is no reason to believe that Miami will fall to any of those inferior opponents, so the streak will almost certainly hit 27 before playing the Chicago Bulls on March 27th at the United Center. The Heat still have a long way to go before debunking the Lakers streak but regardless of if the Heat record 33 or more consecutive victories, their current squad simply does not compare to the Lakers historic team from 41 years ago.

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Bill Sharman Was a Much Better Coach than Erik Spoelstra

Jayne Kamin-Oncea- USA TODAY Sports

Bill Sharman, the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers head coach, could run circles around Miami Heat current head coach Erik Spoelstra. Last year, Spoelstra's ineptitude as a coach was exposed in the Eastern Conference Finals when Celtics head coach Doc Rivers severely outwitted Spoelstra, one of the major reasons the Celtics pushed the Heat to seven games despite not having the services of Avery Bradley and Jeff Green. More importantly, Sharman is one of the best coaches in league history. Sharman is one of two men to ever win an NBA and ABA Championship as a coach. He is also one of four men to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach. Sharman is famous for creating the “morning shoot-around”, a standard for every current NBA team. His coaching prowess helped win the 1972 championship for Los Angeles, the first title in over a decade for the franchise.

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The Miami Heat Have No Post Presence

chris bosh
Debby Wong- USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat lack a dominant presence in the post. The Heat do not have a big man on the roster that can back down a defender in the paint and score at will. Their best option in the post is Chris Bosh, but he is a big man that is best suited on the perimeter knocking down jump shots. The Lakers, meanwhile, had two monster big men on the glass in Wilt Chamberlain and Happy Hairston. Chamberlain averaged a whopping 19.2 rebounds per game, while Hairston corralled 13.1 boards per game. Both players had low-post scoring ability with Chamberlain and Hairston scoring 14.8 and 13.1 points per game, respectively.

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The 1972 Lakers had the Best Backcourt in NBA History

jerry west
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 1971-72 Lakers may have owned the best backcourt in NBA history with Gail Goodrich and Jerry West. Both players had point guard abilities and could run the offense effectively, scoring the ball and distributing the rock. Goodrich averaged 4.5 assists and West 9.7. Goodrich and West averaged 25.9 points per game and 25.8 points per game, respectively. The current Miami backcourt cannot compare. While Dwayne Wade is still an All-Star, he has never been known as a good distributor. Guard Mario Chalmers is a shoot-first point, made evident by his low 3.4 assist per game average.

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The Miami Heat's Bench is Much Worse than the 1972 Lakers' Bench

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

This may be hard to believe, but the 1971-72 Lakers had a very strong bench. Bench players did not contribute that much back then as they do today. But the 1971-72 Lakers reserves were exceptionally strong, better than the 2012-13 Miami Heat bench. Flynn Robinson, Pat Riley and Keith Erickson were all effective players off the bench that could score in bunches. Robinson averaged 11.8 points per game, while Riley and Erickson contributed 6.7 and 5.7 pointer per game, respectively. The only player on the Miami Heat to average double digits off the bench is Ray Allen (10.9), while the next best scorer off the bench is Norris Cole, who scores a mere 4.6 points per game.

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The 1972 Lakers Were Unstoppable on Offense

Jayne Kamin-Oncea- USA TODAY Sports

The most glaring difference between the 1971-72 Lakers and the 2012-13 Miami Heat is offensive efficiency. That Lakers team averaged an unheard of 121 points per game. This year’s Heat are putting up 103.5 points per game, nothing near the offensive output from the Lakers from 41 seasons ago.