Cavaliers Set NBA Losing Streak Record
Cleveland has witnessed The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Move, The Decision, and now, The Record.
With a 99-96 loss at Dallas Monday night, the Cavs -- losers of 25 in a row and 35 out of their last 36 games -- now hold the NBA record for most consecutive losses over not just one, but two seasons.
They had passed the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets for longest losing streak in a season after their 24th consecutive loss. But now they have also eclipsed the early 1980s Cavaliers, who split their 24-game losing streak over the end of the 1981-82 season and the beginning of the 1982-83 season.
Looking back at this point last year, it was hard to imagine the 2011 Cavaliers struggling this much. Last season, they had LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, the best record in the NBA and championship aspirations.
Unfortunately, a loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, a Delonte West scandal and the eventual departure of LeBron James have all led to Cleveland’s misfortune this season.
Even with James’ "Decision," no one saw Cleveland being this bad. The team has solid veterans in Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams, and young prospects in J.J. Hickson, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and Ramon Sessions.
With the addition of a very good coach in Byron Scott, the Cavaliers looked like they would be mediocre at least. They did not look like a team that would become legendarily bad, nor become one of the worst teams to ever step on a NBA basketball court.
Injuries and a lack of talent can do that to a team though. Varejao is out for the season. Williams has missed 19 games. Gibson and starting shooting guard Anthony Parker have combined to miss 20 games.
The Cavaliers have had to rely on the likes of Christian Eyenga, Joey Graham and Ryan Hollins. They even went out and signed swingman Alonzo Gee, who had already been cut by both the Wizards and Spurs this season.
As far as rankings go, the Cavaliers rank 27th offensively, 26th defensively, 27th in rebounds, 28th in blocks and last in the league in point differential, at -11.3.
Despite the adversity, there is a potential bright side for Cleveland this season: they do have plenty of feasible opportunities to break the streak. They play their next eight games at home, facing woeful road teams such as the Detroit Pistons (6-21 on the road), Los Angeles Clippers (3-17), Washington Wizards (0-25) and Philadelphia 76ers (7-19).
A 27-game losing streak (or more) would break the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-game record losing streak to become the longest in the four major professional sports leagues; a record not many Clevelanders are interested in owning.
If the streak does not end by the Washington game, it could reach well over 30 straight losses, as Cleveland faces the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs.
In the end, LeBron James did not just take his “talents” from Cleveland. He took the Cavaliers’ heart, energy and ability to win.