That winning culture the Cavaliers spent five years cultivating and all summer bragging about is gone. That's what I took away from this loss, the 26th in a row, more than anything else.
This is no longer a team that knows how to win or "forgot" how to win, which has been floated in recent weeks. It's a team whose best player was taken away and now has no one left behind who believes they can still win.
Given how the Cavs played in their last four games, a win over the equally dysfunctional Pistons seemed inevitable. Even the Vegas oddsmakers agreed, installing the Cavs as 1 1/2 point favorites. Instead, the Cavs sleepwalk through another lousy effort, much like they gave in the first week of December in road losses to Detroit, Philadelphia and Minnesota when the season first began to really unravel.
Injuries only work as an excuse for so long. Every team gets hit with injuries at some point, no other team in about 35 years has lost this many games in a row. The Packers were shredded with injuries and just won a Super Bowl.
This goes much deeper than Mo Williams' aching hip and Anderson Varejao's bad wheel. This is about heart and pride and desire. The Cavs showed that for about a week. But much like the game against the Heat in Cleveland, on a night they should've been the most prepared and ready to play (for far different reasons) they fell woefully, embarrassingly short. Again.
Antawn Jamison 22 points, seven rebounds
Ramon Sessions 20 points, 12 assists
J.J. Hickson 18 points, 15 rebounds
Daniel Gibson 12 points
Rodney Stuckey 22 points
Will Bynum 17 points
Charlie Villanueva 13 points
Tayshaun Prince 10 points
The Cavs cut a 12-point halftime deficit down to 71-68 with 2:58 left in the third quarter, but they managed just one basket the rest of the quarter as the Pistons extended the lead back out to 11 entering the fourth.
The Cavs' 26-game losing streak ties the record for longest losing streak in the history of professional sports.
They said it
"We took a gigantic step backwards and it was all because of a lack of effort. We had no sense of urgency whatsoever and that kind of amazes me. When we've lost as many in a row as we lost, when you've been as close as we've been in the last four or five games, to be at home and come out the way we came out — that amazes me." -- Byron Scott
The Cavs (8-45) host the Los Angeles Clippers (20-32) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
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