The Cavaliers have the NBA's record for futility all to themselves. Cleveland's losing streak reached 26 games before mercifully ending with a 126-119 overtime win over the Clippers on Feb. 11, 2011. Cleveland started the season a respectable 7-9 after LeBron James left for Miami, but went on to lose 36 of 37 games during its dismal stretch. Here's a look at the other longest single-season losing streaks in NBA history.
2 of 13AP; Robert Beck/SI
1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies
This expansion franchise, with a backcourt that included shooting guard Byron Scott (now the Cavs' coach), not only set the record with 23 straight losses, but also had a separate streak that season of 19.
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1997-98 Denver Nuggets
Two years after the Grizzlies set the unenviable mark of 23 straight losses, Denver joined them in infamy. The Nuggets lost 71 games that season, which explains Bryant Stith's, LaPhonso Ellis' and coach Bill Hanzlik's looks of horror.
4 of 13Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images
2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats dropped their 22nd straight game, a 102-95 loss to the Magic on April 25, extending their franchise-record losing streak. Charlotte continues to slide toward history as the lockout-shortened season comes to a close. If the 7-58 Bobcats lose their final game against the Knicks on Thursday, they'll finish with the worst winning percentage in league history.
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1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers
The 9-73 Sixers' record-worst season included a nice little 20-loss streak. Didn't stop leading scorer Fred Carter from trying his hardest to get Philly a victory.
6 of 13John W. McDonough/SI
1993-94 Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs barely escaped the league's futility record in 1992-93 (they finished 11-71). And when Quinn Buckner took over as coach in 1993-94, things weren't much better: A team featuring Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn finished 13-69 with a 20-game skid.
7 of 13Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images; AP
2003-04 Orlando Magic
Before Doc Rivers led the Celtics to two Finals appearances and a championship, he led the Magic to a disastrous start in 2003. After beating the Knicks in their season opener, Tracy McGrady and the Magic dropped the next 19. Rivers was fired after 10 of those losses.
8 of 13John W. McDonough/SI
1992-93 Dallas Mavericks
The year before they reached the 20-straight-losses plateau, the Mavs recorded 19 consecutive defeats to finish with an 11-71 record. Hence the reason for Terry Davis' dismay and coach Gar Heard's misery on the sideline.
9 of 13Stephen Dunn, Ken Levine/NBAE/Getty Images
1988-89 Los Angeles Clippers
It's not really shocking that the Clippers make the list. They fired Gene Schue (pictured) midway through the streak and replaced him with Don Casey (inset). The losing skid included consecutive road defeats of 35, 34 and 35 points.
10 of 13Andy Hayt/Getty Images; AP
1981-82 Cleveland Cavaliers
Poor Cleveland. Never can catch a break. With their fourth coach of the season, Bill Musselman, at the helm, and future two-time champion Scott Wedman on the roster, the Cavs capped their 15-67 season with a 19-game skid. When the Cavs' five straight losses at the start of the following season are included, they hold the NBA record for all-time longest losing streak (across multiple seasons) at 24 games.
11 of 13Andy Hayt/SI; NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images
1981-82 San Diego Clippers
Paul Silas, now the interim coach in Charlotte, knows a thing or two about losing. He coached the Clippers' 12th season, leading them to the league's second-worst record that year (17-65), only two wins better than (who else?) the Cavs.
12 of 13Greg Nelson/SI
2006-07 Boston Celtics
The year before they won the NBA championship, the Celtics endured a season of turmoil. Days before the opener, Red Auerbach died at age 89. Then, they lost their first seven games. Then All-Star Paul Pierce was lost to a stress reaction. And then the Celtics capped their worst stretch in franchise history -- an 18-game losing streak -- to finish with a 24-58 record.
13 of 13AP; Focus on Sport/Getty Images
1981-82 Utah Jazz
Eighteen straight losses. If you were Frank Layden, you'd be frustrated too. Luckily, with Adrian Dantley (who averaged 30 points a game that season, by the way) and Darrell Griffith on board, things got a little better in subsequent seasons for Layden. The Jazz won their division in 1984 and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
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