Jerry West may have played on the Los Angeles Lakers team that won 33 straight games, but he’s pulling for the Miami Heat this year to knock off the record.
The Heat rallied from a 27-point deficit on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, earning LeBron James a win in his homecoming and increasing the team’s winning streak to 24 games. Miami now needs 10 more wins to top the Lakers streak, set in the 1971-72 season.
Former Lakers legend Jerry West, who averaged 25.8 points and 9.7 assists per game for the Lakers during that record season, said he thinks the Heat have a good chance to pull it off.
“They’ve got great 3-point shooting and they’re never out of a game because of that.” West said. “Then they’ve got the best player in the game that does all the little things. I’m sure any coach would love to coach him because he does so much. I never thought this streak would live forever. No, not in today’s games. … I just think it’s a streak that could very easily be broken this year. I really believe that.”
West said he thinks the Heat’s streak is great for the league. He added that he’s rooting for the Heat, and LeBron James in particular.
“He’s an amazing player,” West said Thursday. “And, frankly, I’m thrilled for him because of all the negative things said about him as a player. He’s improved as a player, but more importantly as a person.”
West also sees the Heat as a throwback to a bygone era in the NBA, when the league was more about the strength of its teams that the star power of individual players.
“I think they have a team,” West said. “So much of the NBA has been marketing its stars. Players that have a flamboyant way of playing, and we have some incredible athletes playing this game. So much of the marketing in the NBA has been, frankly, about players. I think it’s time we talked about the teams.”
West added that it’s not just the Heat playing as a complete team. He also cites Memphis, San Antonio, and Denver, which has a 14-game winning streak of its own.
The Miami Heat have a chance to go for win 25 on Friday when they host the Detroit Pistons.