CLEVELAND, February 1 – NBA doormat Cleveland matched the all-time record losing streak in American pro sport history on Wednesday as they suffered their 26th defeat in a row by falling 103-94 to Detroit.
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott kept the locker room closed for more than half an hour after the historic loss, then ripped the woeful squad for being unprepared for the game.
"I’m mad as hell," Scott said. "I can deal with losing, especially when our guys play as hard as they have in the last couple weeks. But I find it very hard to deal with when guys don’t come out ready to play.
"We’ve got all professional basketball players in there and at some point in time you have to have some pride in what you’re doing.
"We didn’t come out with that pride. We came out just going thought the motions like we were going to win the game no matter what they did.
"Everybody has got to go home and take a good, hard look in the mirror."
The Cavaliers extended their NBA record losing streak, having broken the old mark of 24 they set over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, and equaled US sport’s record run established by Grid Iron’s 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers went 0-14 in their 1976 debut season and started 0-12 in the 1977 campaign before finally winning.
"Everybody is mad as hell," Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson said. "To lose like that and for it to get to this point and still sometimes not see a sense of urgency, I can see why it would push you to that point (of anger).
"What are you going to do? It’s either do it or don’t. The guys have to figure that out."
The Cavaliers, who began an eight-game homestand with the loss, will stand alone with the longest losing streak in American pro sport history if they go down at home Friday to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sunday provides a solid chance for a victory as the Cavaliers host the Washington Wizards, who are 0-25 this season in road games, four shy of the NBA record for worst road record to start to a season.
"Something has to give when they play the Wizards," said two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, who left the Cavaliers last July for Miami to set off a downward spiral that has yet to end.
Cleveland, which began the season 7-9, are now 8-45. The Cavaliers have not won since beating the New York Knicks in over-time on December 18. They have dropped 36 of their past 37 games.
"We took a gigantic step backwards," Scott said. "We had no sense of urgency whatsoever and that kind of amazes me. When we’ve lost as many in a row as we lost and when you’ve been as close as we’ve been in the last four or five games and to be at home and come out the way we came out — that amazes me."
No NBA club wants to become the one that allows Cleveland to end the drought.
"You don’t want to be the team that loses to them," Detroit’s Tracy McGrady said.
"As crazy as it sounds, I want to see them and Washington play. I don’t wish anyone to have a bad losing streak, but I want them to get to Washington, 0-and-whatever they could be, and see whose streak ends. That would be something that would be interesting to watch."
Detroit, which improved to 20-33, rolled to a 55-43 half-time advantage and while the Cavaliers outscored the Pistons in the third and fourth quarter, it was too little and too late once again.
Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points to lead Detroit while Will Bynum added 17 for the Pistons.
Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 22 points while Ramon Sessions scored 20 and J.J. Hickson added 18.