Miami Heat Will Be 60-Win Threat in Defense of NBA Title Behind LeBron James, Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat Will Be 60-Win Threat in Defense of NBA Title Behind LeBron James, Dwyane WadeQuick — name the team that has led the NBA in wins each of the past two seasons.

The
easy answer would be to say the Miami Heat, who have reached the NBA
Finals for two years and won it all over the Oklahoma
City Thunder this summer. But the correct answer is the Chicago Bulls.
They led the league with 62 wins in 2010-11 but lost to Miami in the
Eastern Conference Finals. Last year, the Bulls tied San Antonio
with 50 wins in the 66-game season but were the No. 1 overall seed in
the playoffs before being upset in their first-round matchup against
Philadelphia after Derrick Rose went out with torn knee ligament.

Bovada
has released its NBA wins totals for the upcoming season and, to no
surprise, the Heat lead the way with 61 (over-under both -115). Miami
likely will be an NBA favorite as long as three-time MVP LeBron James is
healthy, and Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade should be fully recovered from
last season's injuries once the season tips off at the end of this
month.

One
of the Heat's few weaknesses may have been their outside or 3-point shooting,
but Miami solved that problem by luring free agent Ray Allen, the NBA's
all-time 3-point king, away from Boston. The Heat won 46 regular-season
games in 2011-12, which would translate to around 57 over an 82-game
season.

The Los Angeles Lakers made arguably the two
biggest splashes this offseason in trading for two future Hall of
Famers: point guard Steve Nash (from Phoenix) and center Dwight Howard
(from Orlando). All the Lakers essentially gave up was center Andrew
Bynum
to get those two perennial All-Stars.

Nash fills
L.A's most glaring hole from last year, when the Lakers finished 41-25
in the regular season and lost to Oklahoma City in the Western
Conference semifinals. Howard, meanwhile, is the NBA's most disruptive
defensive presence and arguably its top rebounder. He is coming off
major back surgery, though. The Lakers' wins total is set at 59.5 (both
-115).

The Celtics finished last season at 39-27 and of
course lost to the Heat in seven games in the East Finals. Danny Ainge
brought most of the crew back, signing former Mavericks star sixth man
Jason Terry to replace Allen. Boston also acquired guard Courtney Lee from Houston. He will likely start at shooting guard while Avery Bradley works his way back
from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the final three games of
the Sixers series and all of the Heat series in the playoffs. Boston's
wins total is set at 50.5 (both -115).

It would take a
minor miracle for the Bulls to lead the league in wins again as they
will play without Rose, the NBA MVP two seasons ago, until at least the
All-Star Break and possibly all season as he works his way back from
that knee injury. Chicago also lost nearly every member of its vaunted "Bench Mob." The Bulls' wins total is set at 47.5, with the over a -125
favorite.

Oklahoma City has every key component back from
last year's 47-19 team that won the West and lost to Miami in the NBA
Finals. The Thunder's win total is the same as the Lakers: 59.5, with
the over a slight -120 favorite.

The team with the worst
record last season was the Charlotte Bobcats, who finished the year on a
23-game losing streak and were 7-59 for the worst single-season winning
percentage (.106) in NBA history. The NBA draft lottery wasn't kind
to Charlotte, either, as it didn't land them the top pick and the chance to draft
Kentucky superstar Anthony Davis. Michael Jordan's
Bobcats are again expected to bring up the rear in the NBA standings in
2012-13 as they are projected with a league-low 22.5 wins, with the
under a slight -120 favorite.

Yardbarker

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