Best of the best
Mavs are chasing my top five regular-season teams
Posted: Wednesday March 7, 2007 11:38AM; Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2007 6:03PM
As the Dallas Mavericks quietly chase history -- emphasis on quietly because they are the least-noticed great team in quite a while -- thoughts turn to the best teams of all time. Could the Mavs, 51-9 as this is written, join that list? Old-timers may demur, but what Dallas is doing this season is remarkable. Even if you dismiss the Eastern Conference -- and please do -- take a look at the West, against which the Mavs have a 32-6 mark.
The San Antonio Spurs have roughly the same team that was good enough to win two championships in the last four years. The Phoenix Suns have one of the best offenses since the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. The current Lakers have Kobe Bryant, the Denver Nuggets have Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony and the Utah Jazz are playing like Stockton and Malone are still around.
Yet the Mavs are dominating all of them. A championship is obligatory for a team to be considered as one of the best of all time. But it's a different question to consider whether or not Dallas' regular season is one of the five best in history.
I'm gonna hold off on including them on that list. And here is their competition -- my five-pack of the all-time greatest regular-season teams.
No. 5: 1949-50 Rochester Royals
Yes, we're going back to the Dark Ages, and no, they didn't win the title (that went to the Minneapolis Lakers). But this team compiled a 51-17 record in a league that had 17 teams. (Granted, some of those teams did eventually disband.) Plus, the Royals won all but one of their home games, an astounding feat.
The Royals had one of the great combos of all time in Bob Davies and Bobby Wanzer, and they were spelled by a canny little backcourt man named Red Holtzman, who later coached the New York Knicks to two championships.
Still, if the Mavs get to 70, I might be willing to push the Royals off the list and add Big D.
No. 4: 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers
Perhaps I'm a little influenced by the postseason, which they toured through in 13 games, one off the famed "Fo, Fo, Fo" pledge by Moses Malone. But this team, which featured Julius Erving, Malone, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones as the sixth man, won 65 games during the regular season, seven more than an outstanding Lakers team and nine more than their Atlantic Division rival, the Boston Celtics.
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