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NBA / Mar 28, 2014 / 12:45 pm

The 5 Longest Losing Streaks In NBA History

Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers made history – just not the kind of history a team would want to make. After losing to the Houston Rockets, 120-98, the Sixers tied an NBA record for futility after dropping 26 games in a row. The team is entering unchartered territory, and can break the record on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.

I took a look back at the five longest losing streaks in NBA history with the hopes of maybe — just maybe — allowing Sixers fans to feel a little bit better about the D-League also-rans they’re putting out on the floor on a nightly basis.

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5. 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats – 23 games

Featuring rookie point guard Kemba Walker, the Bobcats finished the season 7-58, losing their last 23 games of the season. Charlotte finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), beating out the 1972-1973 Philadelphia squad (.110). In the next campaign’s season-opener, the Bobcats finally snapped the skid, beating the Indiana Pacers, 90-89.

4. 1997-1998 Denver Nuggets – 23 games

Before the Bobcats, came the historically awful Nuggets. Denver finished the season at 11-71, 51 games behind the Midwest Division leading Utah Jazz. Their best month of the season came in March…when they won a total of four games. I repeat, that was their best month of the season, which is truly consistent awfulness.

3. 1995-1996 Vancouver Grizzlies – 23 games

The Grizzlies proudly became one of two Canadian teams to join the NBA (along with the Toronto Raptors) since the 1946-1947 Toronto Huskies. While expansion franchises are not expected to rise to greatness overnight, no one could have predicted Vancouver’s dreadful 95-96 campaign.

Led by Greg Anthony, the Grizzlies began the season 2-0 before losing 19 consecutive games. Later in the same season, the team endured a 23-game losing streak. Vancouver ended the season at 15-67. Thankfully, the team has rebounded since moving to Memphis following the 2000-01 season.

2. 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers – 26 games

After LeBron James fled to Miami, the Cavaliers struggled mightily in his absence. Cleveland lost 26 consecutive games and set multiple team records in the process. On January 11 against the Los Angeles Lakers, they scored just 57 points in the game (fewest in franchise history) and lost by 57 points (largest margin of defeat in team history). The Cavs, however, did strike some luck when they landed the No. 1 overall pick in the following NBA Draft, which they used to select former Rookie of the Year and two-time all-star Kyrie Irving.

1. 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers – 26 games (and counting)

No longer are the Cavaliers alone in the rubble of basketball history. The Sixers haven’t won a game since January 29, 2014 – almost two months ago. Since their last victory, the Seattle Seahawks have won the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics came and went, and Russia has been booted from the G8 — just to provide a timeline for some significant moments since their last victory.

At 15-57, it is certainly possible Philadelphia will remain winless for the rest of the season and increase their losing streak to 36 games. But hey, at least the team has mastered the art of tanking, right?

What do you think?

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  • 2cents

    Regardless of where they pick, I am thinking having Wiggins, a healthy Noel and MCW with a year under his belt will make all this pain go away.

  • spencer

    IF, they get the No. 1 pick…

  • 2cents

    Nice one, Spencer. But that’s “IF” you think Wiggins is worth the number 1…

  • spencer

    I do, but it’s impossible to tell. Embiid’s back is scary & Parker seems to be lacking that crazy athleticism everyone drools over in June. Nobody really knows except whatever alien runs Chad Ford’s body.

  • 2cents

    That part about Ford made me laugh. I am a Wiggins fan, so would love to see him go number 1, but I think Embiid’s name will still be called, as it’s hard for a GM to pass up a mobile big man. Oden over Durant is one example, but NBA GM’s have a history of making dumb calls on draft night.