Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/24/13
MIAMI Pat Riley has said it would be more difficult to have an NBA 33-game winning streak now than it was four decades ago. LeBron James apparently has joined Riley in that thinking. After his Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 109-77 Sunday night for their 26th straight victory, James compared the NBA now to how it was to 1971-72, when the Los Angeles Lakers won those 33 with Riley as a reserve guard. Riley is now president of the Heat, whose streak is the second-longest in NBA history. Back then, the leagues were separate. It wasnt a full league at that time, the ABA and NBA leagues spread apart, James said about 1971-72. So some of the greatest players werent even in the (NBA) at the time. But that takes nothing away from what (the Lakers) were able to accomplish; 33 games in a row is 33 games in a row. I dont care who youre playing against. Our league is so competitive now. Weve got 30 teams. We have so many great players. To even have (had winning 33 straight) as a goal for me, it was never even an option. James, who is well-versed in basketball history, is referring to a time when the NBA had 17 teams and the rival ABA had 11. The ABA that season featured future Hall of Famers Julius Erving, Rick Barry, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel, Mel Daniels and Roger Brown. Riley has talked about a belief in it being harder now to win 33 games than when his Lakers did it. Riley has not been made available by the Heat for interviews during their winning streak, but he spoke about the subject last year with FOX Sports Florida. That streak, I dont think it ever will be broken, Riley had said at the time. Obviously, Riley had no idea that a year later his team would be challenging the Lakers mark. He was talking about the NBA today in general when discussing why he believed the record never would fall. I just think the game is so much different now, Riley had said. Players today mentally, I dont think there would be enough discipline to maintain that kind of focus and concentration for so long. There are so many things that distract you. If some team (had) 20 to 25 wins in a row, (players) might say, Heck, lets get this over with. There would be so much scrutiny and so much media coverage, it might be, Lets just end this and get on with normalcy. I cant see it happening (that the Lakers record ever would be broken). Riley had said last year it would be harder for a team to win so many consecutive games now due to pressures in a different era of the media. The media (in 1971-72), the only guys were the beat writers and they traveled with you on commercial airlines, Riley said. They were sort of like friends (to the players). There was no Internet, no tweeting, no blogs. Nevertheless, it wasnt as if other teams had been running off gigantic streaks back then. The Lakers destroyed the record of 20 that had been set the previous season by Milwaukee. During the streak, the Lakers average margin of victory was 16.0 points. They won 23 games by 10 or more points, including eight by 20 or more. The Lakers, who finished with a then NBA-record 69-13 regular-season mark and cruised to the title, did face some formidable foes during their streak. They beat Boston (56-26) and Golden State (51-31) three times each and Milwaukee (63-19) and Chicago (57-25) once apiece. The Bucks eventually ended the streak with a 120-104 win on Jan. 9, 1972. However, as James might note, the Lakers that season didnt have to play the Kentucky Colonels or the Indiana Pacers. The Colonels, with the intimidating front line of Gilmore and Issel, went an ABA-record 68-16 during the regular season. Yet they didnt even claim the ABA championship trophy, that going to the Pacers, featuring Daniels and Brown. But this is a high-tech era. One supposes a computer could replay 1971-72 to see the Lakers still would have won 33 straight had ABA teams been on the schedule. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI


Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Hawks not shopping Al Horford at NBA trade deadline

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

Could Matt Forte become the revival for Patriots run game?

Are the Celtics legimate contenders in the East?

WATCH: Jabari Parker is no joke at NBA Rising Stars Challenge

How Marvelous Marv Throneberry became a Met

WATCH: Filip Forsberg goes beast on Lightning with this goal

Carmelo Anthony on trade rumors: ‘I’m not going anywhere’

Report: Cavaliers shopping Kevin Love, price tag very high

Magic remain tough team to beat

WATCH: Pitt's James Conner works out after cancer diagnosis

CC Sabathia on the outside looking in for the Yankees

Prediction time: NHL award winners

Brook Lopez is the NBA's most underrated big man

Reviewing the Tampa Bay Rays

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker