Cavs' skid hits 24 in a row
By SAM AMICO
February 5, 2011
CLEVELAND -- Daniel Gibson faced his locker and got dressed, struggling to buckle his own belt.
On this night, he appeared to have other things on his mind.
Final score: Portland 111, Cavaliers 105 on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Final verdict: Gibson and the Cavs now own the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history at 24 games.
That's 24 games without a win, 24 times of shaking your and head and wondering what went wrong. There have been embarrassing blowouts, close calls that have come down to a final shot and just about everything in between.
When you lose 24 straight, there truly is no one way to go about it.
"You just can't think about how many you've lost at this point," Gibson said. "You just can't."
That's maybe because, believe it or not, this whole thing could be worse if it weren't for an overtime victory against New York way back on Dec. 18. Even with that, the Cavs have lost 34 of 35.
The Ted Stepien era has got nothing on this.
But unlike those days in the early 1980s, these Cavs haven't been bogged down with bad front-office maneuvers or player indifference. This time, it's a combination of injuries, inexperience and occasionally, just plain bad luck.
Against Portland, the Cavs trailed just 107-105 with 1:23 left. Things were practically as tight in the previous two losses, Friday at Memphis and Wednesday vs. Indiana.
"The last week or so, it's hard to complain," said Cavs coach Byron Scott. "As I told the players, it's not a matter of if you're gonna win, it's a matter of when."
Gibson repeated those sentiments, leading to the question of when, exactly, is when?
"The next game, hopefully," Gibson said.
That would be Monday against Western Conference power Dallas on the Mavericks' home floor. So it's another tall task for a suddenly young team that can't seem to make the right play -- whether it be hitting a key shot or making a strong defensive stand -- at the right time.
"It's the little things we don't do that come back to bite us in the end," said veteran guard Anthony Parker.
Much of it likely has to do with the fact the Cavs play two rookies who never got drafted (Manny Harris and Samardo Samuels), and a third who likely wouldn't have been drafted had the Cavs not picked him (Christian Eyenga).
Yet Eyenga and Harris are relied upon heavily, with each scoring 12 points on a combined 8-for-12 shooting against the Trail Blazers.
But that's not all when it comes to the newness. Forward Antawn Jamison (17 points) came to the team at last year's trading deadline, and Ramon Sessions (15 points, seven assists) at the beginning of the season.
When you throw in ongoing injuries to veterans Anderson Varejao (foot) and Mo Williams (hip), well, the margin for error has always been extremely slim.
But no matter the reasons, 24 straight losses is 24 straight losses. And the players and the coaches can't help but take it to heart. The trick is to not let it get you down -- at least not to the point where it's all you think about.
"You can't allow it to consume you," Gibson said. "That's when you allow it to affect other things in your life."
He added: "With any team, I think losing is contagious. A lot of times, it turns into more (losses). You just have to continue to work at it, and we have been. I think that's the part that is troublesome, because we are putting in the work every day and we are not reaping the benefits."
Perhaps that will someday change.
It's all a matter of when is when. But for now, these Cavs will most certainly be remembered for a record losing streak.
"It's not one that you want to have," Parker said. "But it's here and you deal with it."