Detroit Pistons lead list of longest NBA losing streaks

ByKalan Hooks ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 27, 2023

TheDetroit Pistons' 118-112 loss to the visitingBrooklyn Netson Tuesday set the record for the longest losing streak during a single season in NBA history at 27 games.

The Philadelphia 76ers still hold the longest losing streak overall at 28 games across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns. Detroit's skid is also the second longest across the NFL, NHL and MLB, according to ESPN Stats and Information research.

The Pistons, now 2-28, started their season 2-1 with wins against the Charlotte Hornets and theChicago Bulls.

Detroit's last victory came on Oct. 28 in a 118-102 decision over the visiting Bulls.

Entering Tuesday, the Pistons had allowed an average of 121 points per game and had scored only 109 points -- the third-lowest average in the league, better than only the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers.

Only seven other franchises in NBA history have had losing streaks of 20 or more games in the same season. Here's a look at their runs of futility:

Cleveland Cavaliers, 2010-11

Consecutive losses: 26

Overall record: 19-63

After the Cavs were eliminated in the semifinals of the 2010 playoffs, LeBron James became an unrestricted free agent.

In his announcement special, "The Decision," James revealed that he would "take his talents to South Beach" and sign with the Miami Heat.

The first season after James' departure, the Cavaliers lost 26 games in a row, setting the record for the longest losing streak in NBA history.

Philadelphia 76ers, 2013-14

Consecutive losses: 26

Overall record: 19-63

The Sixers were coached by Brett Brown and led byThaddeus Young, who averaged just 17.9 points per game.

The 76ers had only 15 wins before entering their NBA record-tying 26-game slump, then won only four more games the entire season.

Charlotte Bobcats, 2011-12

Consecutive losses: 23

Overall record:7-59

The Bobcats averaged just 87 points per game, ranking last in the league, and finished the season with the worst record of all time.

Denver Nuggets, 1997-98

Consecutive losses: 23

Overall record: 11-71

Twenty-six years before winning an NBA championship in 2023, the Nuggets compiled one of the longest losing streaks ever recorded. On a team where LaPhonso Ellis was the leading scorer with 14.3 points per game, the Nuggets had only two players who played the entire 82-game season.

Denver ranked second to last in points per game as a team, averaging 89 points but allowing its opponents to score 100.8 points. The Nuggets finished the season with the worst record in the league.

Vancouver Grizzlies, 1995-96

Consecutive losses: 23

Overall record: 15-67

Vancouver nearly had two 20-game losing streaks in the same season. The Grizzlies started 2-0, including an overtime win over rookie Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Immediately afterward, they lost 19 straight games.

Coming off the All-Star break, the Grizzlies collected a 93-86 win over the Sacramento Kings before taking another steep drop and losing 23 in a row.

Houston Rockets, 2020-21

Consecutive losses: 20

Overall record: 17-55

In 2020, the Rockets -- led by James Harden -- made it to the semifinals of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The following season, the Rockets started 3-6, andHarden soon requested a trade from the franchise. The All-Star guard was involved in a four-way trade that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets for a trio of first-round draft picks with a handful of pick swaps.

The Rockets finished last in the Western Conference.

Dallas Mavericks, 1993-94

Consecutive losses: 20

Overall record: 13-69

In the 1992-93 season, the Mavericks finished 11-71 -- the worst record in franchise history. The following season, they picked up where they left off with three consecutive losses before earning a win against the Timberwolves. During their 20-game skid, the Mavs failed to reach 100 points in 15 matchups.

Philadelphia 76ers, 1972-73

Consecutive losses: 20

Overall record:9-73

The Sixers' season began with a 15-game skid before they clinched a two-point win against the Rockets in San Antonio.

Philadelphia won only four games before losing 20 straight. The 76ers' season ended with 13 consecutive losses, and the team finished with just nine wins.

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