They played with fight, but the Cleveland Cavaliers lost anyway, setting a single-season NBA record by losing their 24th consecutive game on Saturday night, a 111-105 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. On Friday night, The Cavaliers tied that record with a 112-105 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Cavaliers surpassed the Vancouver Grizzlies -- who lost 23 straight games in the 1995-1996 season -- and tied the all-time record for consecutive losses overall, set by the Cavaliers during the 1981-1982 and 1982-1983 seasons. Their last win came on Dec. 18 against the New York Knicks. Incredibly, that was the only game the team has won during a 1-34 streak dating back to Nov. 30. The Cavaliers can set the NBA's all-time record for consecutive losses (regardless of whether it stretched over multiple seasons) during a Monday night game against the Mavericks in Dallas.
On paper, the Blazers looked like a fairly appealing opponent for the Cavaliers, as they started an undersized starting lineup, have struggled to generate offense lately and are short-handed due to multiple injuries. If ever there was a team ripe for the taking, it would have seemed to be Portland, who had lost four of five games coming into Saturday night, are playing without starting center Marcus Camby, who is out due to a recent knee surgery, and had failed to score more than 100 points since Jan. 20.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, who have arguably the least-talented roster in the NBA, they came out of the gates with a slow start, getting down by as many as seven points in the first quarter. Six second-quarter Cleveland three-pointers got things going, however, and the Cavaliers held a 57-55 halftime lead. Blazers forward Dante Cunningham sustained a blow to the head during the second quarter (he would not return to the game), and Cleveland exploited his absence nicely, attacking Portland’s paint on their way to 54.8% first-half shooting.
The Blazers have been dogged by terrible outside shooting in recent weeks, but that finally came to an end on Saturday night, especially in the second half, as Portland shot a season-best 12-19 as a team from deep, with guard Wesley Matthews (5-7) and forward Nicolas Batum (5-6) leading the way.
In the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers collapsed just like they did against the Grizzlies, giving up a game-changing 9-0 run in the middle of the quarter that made life easier for the Blazers down the stretch.
Matthews led the Blazers with 31 points. Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 17 points.
With the win, the Blazers avoided going o-fer on a three-game road trip which also included games at Denver and Indiana, improving to 27-24. The loss dropped Cleveland to 8-43 on the year.
After a tough game against the Mavericks on Monday, the Cavaliers will have another good shot to break the streak. They host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, beginning a home-stand that will also include games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards, who are both below .500.