By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the Miami Heat march toward the NBA record 33 game win streak held by the 1971-72 Lakers, it’s hard not to want to compare the two teams.

It’s true that eras are very different. There are nearly twice as many teams in the NBA as there were in 1971, teams fly on private planes, and the advances in nutrition and medical science are astonishing. As well, there is a media pressure that didn’t exist 40 years ago that the Heat are dealing with, and they’re playing teams who fly on private planes, and are subject to the same medical advances.

With all of the differences that make it impossible to really predict the outcome, the debate is still an interesting one. ran all of the numbers, and accounted for the change in talent in the league at the two times, and tried to determine two things. One, what are the chances the Heat’s win streak eclipses the record, and two, if the teams played a seven game series, who would win?

After running the simulation 50,000 times, Prediction Machine determined that the Heat have a 17% chance of beating the Lakers record of 33 consecutive wins. They have a 71.5% chance of beating the Bulls on Wednesday night, a 57.% chance of beating the Bulls and the following opponent, the New Orleans Hornets. When their chances take a serious dip is Sunday’s game against the Spurs, when the chances fall to 26.1%.

As for the matchup with the 71-72 Lakers, the Heat lost that best of seven, neutral site series 57% of the time. In just one game, the Lakers win 54% of the time. The average score of each game was 103.1 to 101.6, in favor of Los Angeles.

As they say, that’s why they play the games. Or in the case of the imaginary series, that’s why we argue about them.

Now about that Dream Team vs. 2012 Olympic team argument.

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