If you turned on ESPN tonight, you caught a pretty good game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. Both teams have extremely talented leading scorers in Kevin Durant and Monta Ellis and two of the NBA’s most exciting point guards in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. But, like LeBron James, I actually kind of wish ESPN had televised a different NBA game today, the one between the Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards came into this past weekend having lost their first 25 road games of the season and their last 26 on the road overall counting a loss to New York last April at Madison Square Garden. They were four losses away from tying the 1992-1993 Dallas Mavericks for the worst road start in NBA history.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, had already made league history by losing 26 games in a row, the longest losing streak in NBA history and tied with the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the longest in Big 4 sports history. Their biggest
“stars” include such players as undrafted ex-Michigan standout Manny Harris, journeyman shooting guard Anthony Parker and ex-Celtics backup Leon Powe. The Wizards are led by the slightly more talented likes of Kirk Hinrich, No. 1 overall pick John Wall, Nick Young, Josh Howard and Javale McGee. They’re a fairly unremarkable team except for not having been able to win away from the Verizon Center. Toronto, Sacramento, Minnesota…it doesn’t matter how bad a team the Wizards play, they just haven’t been able to put up more points than the other team without wearing their home white jerseys.
Likewise, the Cavs have just defied all logic in losing so much this season. Everyone knew they were going to suffer without LeBron but this badly? The only comparison I can think of is the 1999 Chicago Bulls who went 13-37 a year after winning their third straight NBA title-and that was in a season drastically shortened by a lockout. Detroit, New Jersey, Milwaukee….the list of mediocre teams who still managed to beat Cleveland goes on and on. The game today itself was a 115-100 Washington win but the level of awfulness it encapsulated can’t even be described. Then again, Cleveland did snap its losing streak last night against the Los Angeles Clippers. And who wants to watch two just plain awful teams play each other when history isn’t even on the line?