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Can the Celtics Reach 73 Wins?

This question may seem absolutely ridiculous, but allow me to pose it. Is 73 wins even feasible? Considering that the Celtics won 66 games last season (just seven off from the NBA record) and had an incredible 29-3 start, it’s possible.

It’s going to take a miraculous set of circumstances for the Celtics to reach the historic 73-win plateau. But, before we proceed with how they can do it, we must look back at the team that caused this question to be posed in the first place: the Chicago Bulls.

The Record-Setting Bulls

Michael Jordan’s Bulls, of course, set an NBA record in the 1995-96 season with a 72-10 record. Imagine that…an .878 winning percentage. They only lost to one team more than once all season (the Indiana Pacers beat them twice).

Jordan averaged over 30 ppg that season, and his counterpart Scottie Pippen averaged nearly 20 ppg. Dennis Rodman hauled in almost 15 rebounds per game during the regular season, and for the most part stayed out of trouble.

Tony Kukoc was the team’s sixth man, and he did have a nice ability to score, shoot threes, and play enough defense to get by. The team itself was just too good offensively to have to worry as much as other teams about defense.

Jordan though was still a fierce defender, averaging 2.2 steals per game and a block every other game (.5 per). So does winning 72 games take an amazing effort from one of the greatest players in NBA history? Maybe.

The Big Three

While the Bulls had Superman (Jordan), Batman (Pippen), and Rodman (Dennis Rodman), the Celtics have the new Big Three, fresh off their first NBA title. If there’s any year to win 73 games, this has to be the year for the Celtics.

Last year, they were in their first seasons together, so there had to be time allowed for the players to get used to each other. Eventually, the Big Three become one and soared through the rest of the regular season. This season will be their second full season together, so they should be a cohesive unit from the get-go.

Their ages are just right. They have enough experience to know how to win, and they’re young enough to still get it done on a consistent basis. Their window of opportunity is closing fast, however, as this may be their last year as a dominant team. The timing is right for something special.

What Needs to Happen?

So many things. Like I said before, the pieces need to fall in place perfectly.

1. The East has to be especially weak

  • The Eastern Conference has been weak in recent years, but it’s unlikely to stay that way. The 76ers got a lot better with the addition of Elton Brand. The Cavs are better with Mo Williams. The Knicks even look improved…they may win 30 games!

2. Everyone has to stay healthy

  • Kevin Garnett cannot miss 10 games. Such an event will likely cause it least three losses, which is already a third of the way there to nine losses.
  • If Paul Pierce or Ray Allen miss significant action, the dream is over. Michael Jordan played all 82 games that year, and Scottie Pippen played in 77 of the 82. They were the team’s bread and butter, and they were there for nearly all of the victories.

3. The Celtics need to remember what happened to the Patriots

  • It’s sad to bring up, but its applicable. The 2007 Patriots were on their way to becoming the only 19-0 ever. 16 wins in the regular season, and three more in the playoffs. They lost the Super Bowl in large part because they were just beat up as team, trying so hard week after week to win.
  • The Patriots faced the best in every single team they faced toward the end. The mounting pressure must have been too much to handle, and couple that with a devastating loss in the Super Bowl, and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover. OK back to the task at hand…

So…Will the Celtics Reach 73 Wins?

Highly unlikely. I’ll go out on a limb and say no way, not this year, not next year. It takes a dominant team in a weak conference to win that many games. Last year was the perfect recipe for the Celtics, but they were playing in their first season together and could only muster 66 wins.

I will say if the Celtics had a year under their belts last season instead of this season, they may have made a run at 73 wins…but I still highly doubt it.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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2 comments for “Can the Celtics Reach 73 Wins?”

  1. […] Examiner Your Boston Celtics primer Connecticut Post Celtics puzzle incomplete Sports of Boston Can the Celtics reach 73 wins Plain Dealer Hickson fined, West rolls ankle Sports by Brooks Greyhound of the Skies sponsor […]

    Posted by » Blog Archive » To | October 25, 2008, 10:33 am
  2. Nah.

    Posted by Jeff | October 25, 2008, 10:50 am

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