Cavs endure record 24th straight loss
The losing streak has been long, painful and embarrassing.
Now it's historic.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the NBA's record for futility all to themselves.
Cleveland's losing streak reached 24 games on Saturday night as Wesley Matthews scored 31 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 111-105 win over the pitiful Cavs, who are yet to win in 2011 and have lost a mind-boggling 34 of 35.
With just one win since Nov. 27, the Cavaliers now own the league's single-season mark for consecutive losses and have matched the record for overall losses in a row they previously set over 1981-82 and 1982-83.
''It feels like a bad dream,'' said guard Daniel Gibson.
And it's not over.
Cleveland nearly overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but once again failed to make plays down the stretch and fell to 8-42 - an almost unimaginable record for a team that won more than 60 games the past two seasons and went deep in the playoffs.
But that was with LeBron James.
Without him, the Cavs are shells of their former selves.
''We have to figure out how to win these games,'' said Gibson, who scored 12 with nine assists. ''We just have to keep trying until we do. It's not a matter of if, but when. We have to continue to play the way we're playing and things are going to change for us.''
''The next game, hopefully,'' he said. ''That's the way you have to approach it.''
Antawn Jamison scored 17 and Ramon Sesions 15 points to pace the Cavs, who will try to end their skid on Monday in Dallas. After that, they'll host Detroit, the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington - all three are under .500 and the Wizards are the league's only winless road team.
For much of the night, it appeared the Cavaliers might finally end a slide that began with a Dec. 20 loss to Utah and shows no signs of ending.
Cleveland led early in the fourth quarter, but Rudy Fernandez hit a 3-pointer and the Blazers went on a 15-4 run to open a 105-95 lead. The Cavs didn't fold, and they responded with a 10-2 spurt to make it 107-105 on Sessions' lay-in with 1:23 left.
But on Portland's next possession, former Cavs guard Andre Miller, who had just one point with five minutes left, dropped a tough, 12-foot fadeaway to put the Blazers back up by four.
Sessions then missed a layup with 39 seconds left after grabbing a loose ball that went through teammate J.J. Hickson's hands underneath. The Cavs had to foul and Fernandez's two free throws sent Cleveland to another gut-wrenching defeat.
Miller admitted the Blazers didn't want to be the team to let Cleveland off the mat.
''There's pressure playing against every team, but, of course, there's added pressure with them struggling the way they are,'' Miller said. ''You don't want to be the top headline: 'Streak ends to Portland Trail Blazers.' Guys took a little pride in that.''
The Cavs, who at one point were 7-9, came in tied with Vancouver (1995-96) and Denver (1997-98) for the longest losing skid in one season.
It's all theirs now, another blow in a nightmarish season that seemed destined for failure when James decided to leave.
''I couldn't care less about the record,'' Cavs coach Byron Scott said. ''I care about our guys progressing and getting better. That's my biggest focus and hopefully they feel the same way.''
The night didn't start well for the Cavs.
Forward Jamario Moon was involved in a minor car accident while driving to Quicken Loans Arena as another heavy snow blanketed Cleveland. Moon couldn't avoid hitting the back of a truck that swerved and struck the center divider. The driver of the other vehicle left the scene before police arrived.
Moon banged his knee but was otherwise uninjured. However, his Mercedes L350 sustained heavy damage. He needed help from members of Cleveland's Fire Dept., who used a hammer to make his car drivable.
''It's an F175 now,'' teammate Anthony Parker cracked.
Moon came off the bench and knocked down two straight 3-pointers, and the Cavs made 6 of 7 from behind the arc while outscoring the Blazers 37-32 in the second quarter to open a 57-55 halftime lead. Moon hasn't been getting much playing time of late, but coach Byron Scott decided to use him and it paid off.
Moon finished with a season-high 14 points, but it wasn't nearly enough, and Cleveland was again plagued by not having anyone to turn to in the closing minutes.
''Every team goes through a period like this,'' Gibson said. ''No team stays at the top forever. At some point, you experience this.''
Notes: The Blazers made 12 of 19 3-pointers and snapped a seven-game losing streak in Cleveland. ... Cavs C Anderson Varejao will have surgery on Feb. 12 to repair a torn tendon in his ankle. Varejao sought a second opinion before choosing Dr. Robert Anderson, a specialist who will perform the operation in Charlotte, N.C. Varejao sustained the season-ending injury during a non-contact running drill in practice on Jan. 6. Varejao said his rehab could take up to four months. ... Blazers C Dante Cunningham sustained a nasty gash after he was accidentally elbowed by Cleveland's Samardo Samuels in the second quarter. He did not return. ... Cleveland will play eight of its next nine at home.