This is how far the Cavs have fallen: Nuggets coach George Karl referred to them before the game as a "wounded animal" and said -- more than once -- that he hoped his players would take them seriously.
"If it would be a close game in the fourth quarter, they're going to play it like a playoff game. They're going to be a wounded animal,'' he said. "I'm just hoping we take them serious and focus in and continue to play. We're in a good mode right now. I wouldn't want to give it away."
The Cavs' 19th consecutive loss now has opposing coaches openly hoping their players can take games against the Cavs seriously. The only rung below this is Washington Generals uniforms, "Sweet Georgia Brown" whistling on the PA system and buckets of confetti being thrown into the stands.
It's inevitable the Cavs set the single-season record for consecutive losses Sunday night against the Orlando Magic. After that, home games against the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers provide the last legitimate opportunities at a victory before they get to 25 losses. That would come Feb. 7 at Dallas and give the Cavs every imaginable losing streak in NBA history.
At this point, sadly, the only thing that could stop it would be for exactly what Karl was talking about -- one team to take the Cavs lightly, Antawn Jamison explode for 35 and the Cavs squeak one out. At this point, it seems to be the only way to avoid history.
J.J. Hickson 24 points, 14 rebounds
Antawn Jamison 20 points, 12 rebounds
Ramon Sessions 14 points, 13 assists, 0 turnovers
Daniel Gibson 15 points, five 3-pointers
Carmelo Anthony 33 points, 15 of 18 FTs
Arron Afflalo 23 points
Ty Lawson 15 points, five assists
The Nuggets' lead was down to seven late in the fourth when Ty Lawson tore through the lane for a basket. Following a Cavs miss, Chauncey Billups drained a 3 and the lead was up to 12 in less than a minute.
The Cavs made 15 free throws as a team -- the same number Carmelo Anthony made by himself.
They said it
"Yeah, it's over." -- Byron Scott, on if there was any positives to come out of tonight's game.
The Cavs (8-38) host Orlando (30-17) at 6 p.m. on Sunday.