Jerry West can recall games after which he was overcome with dejection, even as his Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of a streak that would become an NBA-record 33 consecutive wins. Obviously, the source of West’s angst did not stem from a Lakers loss. He was upset because the eventual 1971-72 champions had failed to win by enough, in his estimation. “If you didn’t win by 15, you were disappointed,” West said Thursday during a teleconference with reporters. Therein lies the difference between the streak West helped build and the Miami Heat’s current run, which reached 24 games Wednesday after they clawed back from down 27 points for a 98-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. West’s Lakers—which included Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor and, yes, Heat president Pat Riley—navigated the 17-team NBA with ease, going 69-13 while averaging 121.0 points per game and outscoring opponents by an average of more than 12 points. Further indication of their dominance: During their winning streak, only eight of the 33 games ended in single-digit wins, including a seven-point defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks team that later ended the Lakers' run. On the other hand, during this season’s streak, the Heat have maintained a winning margin of only 10 points against non-playoff teams and faced five double-digit deficits. Miami's mid-game struggles managed to add new lows to LeBron James' career, with the 27-point Cavaliers lead equaling the most points he has trailed at any time since entering the NBA. Of course, that advantage was met with a thrilling Heat comeback.
Jerry West: Heat breaking Lakers' streak would be 'great for the league'
POSTED: 09:25 AM PDT Mar 22, 2013 UPDATED: 09:25 AM PDT Mar 22, 2013
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