CLEVELAND | The Cavaliers‘ record-setting losing streak is intact.
Byron Scott finally snapped.
Cleveland’s first-year coach unloaded on his team during and after a listless 103-94 loss on Wednesday night, extending the Cavs’ NBA record skid to 26 and tying them with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the longtime national punchline for failure — for the longest stretch of incompetence in major American pro sports.
“I’m mad as hell,” said Scott, who kept the postgame locker room closed for more than 30 minutes. “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.”
The Pistons were supposedly a beatable opponent for the cellar-dwelling Cavs (8-45), still winless since Dec. 18 and now losers of a hard-to-imagine 36 of 37.
Instead, Cleveland’s season slipped further into shame.
“Everybody’s mad as hell,” guard Daniel Gibson said when told of his coach’s surly mood. “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. What are you going to do? It’s either do it or don’t.
“The guys have to figure that out.”
The Cavs’ next chance to end the slide will be Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. After that comes a home game against the road-winless Washington Wizards on Sunday.
“Something has to give when they play the Wizards,” said two-time reigning NBA MVP LeBron James, whose departure from Cleveland for Miami has led to the Cavs’ stunning collapse in their first season without him, on Tuesday night after the Heat beat Indiana at home. “I think that should be a nationally televised game, honestly.”
Rodney Stuckey scored 22 to pace the Pistons, who didn’t want to be remembered as the team that let the Cavs get off the mat. Detroit’s players said they were motivated by ESPN analyst Tim Legler, who predicted Cleveland would end its streak against the Pistons.
“You don’t want to be the team that loses to them,” Tracy McGrady said. “Tim Legler, we heard you. You gave us some bulletin board material. We used that.”
“As crazy as it sounds, I want to see them and Washington play,” McGrady said. “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.”
The Cavs and their fans had hoped this was the night this streak that has stretched through the holidays, the NFL playoffs and almost two months, stopped.