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The Longest Losing Streaks in Basketball

Teams en route to the basketball hall of shame
by Mikey Agulto | Feb 9, 2011
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And we thought it couldn’t get any worse than last season’s New Jersey Nets squad.

The Cleveland Cavaliers now owns the longest losing streak in NBA history. So far, they've lost 25 consecutive games this season, some of which are just too damn close to let go. As of this writing, their season record stands at 8-43, and they haven’t won a single game since mid-December. They have lost 35 or their past 36 games, with 26 of them suffered on the road. 

The team is also down on their luck with their roster. Veteran guard Mo Williams has been nursing his hip injury and starting center Anderson Varejao, perhaps playing the best basketball of his career, is now done for the season due to a torn ankle tendon.

It’s a sad story, really. Everybody knew it would be a less than stellar season without LeBron James in their corner, but the team isn’t bad at all, at least not record-breaking bad.

Bright side is, the Cavaliers aren’t alone in the record books. Four other teams have suffered the same fate, each one even worse than the last:

Vancouver Grizzlies (circa 1996)
We guess Cleveland Coach Byron Scott must be familiar with catastrophic seasons by now. He was part of a Grizzlies team that lost 23 consecutive times during the 1995-96 NBA season. Accompanying him to a downward slope were Vancouver pioneers Bryant Reeves, Greg Anthony, and Gerald Wilkins. They finished the season with a 15-67 win-loss record.

Denver Nuggets (circa 1997)
With a team consisting of 90s cagers Eric Williams, Johnny Newman, Laphonso Ellis, Bobby Jackson, Cory Alexander, and Danny Fortson, all of whom have scoring averages in double figures, you would think that the Denver Nuggets wouldn’t have any problems finishing the season with a decent record. Instead they had a 23 game losing streak and only won 11 games.

Cleveland Cavaliers (circa 1982)
Before hitting the jackpot with LeBron James in the 2004 season, the Cavaliers have always been synonymous with losing seasons. Mike Mitchell, Ron Brewer, James Edwards, and Cliff Robinson were averaging close to 20 points per game, but that wasn’t enough to salvage the team from a 15-67 record, tinted by a 24-game losing streak that carried over to the 1983 season.

Detroit Pistons (circa 1980)
Ateneo Coach Norman Black may be enjoying a three-peat championship with the Blue Eagles nowadays, but back then he was a part of the 1980 Pistons team that lost 21 successive games and finished the season with 21 wins as well. NBA legend Bob McAdoo’s numbers saw a massive decline that season, and John Long led the team in scoring with only 17 points per game.

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