DALLAS — Over one season or two, no team in NBA history has lost as many games in a row as these Cleveland Cavaliers.
The surging Dallas Mavericks beat Cleveland 99-96 on Monday night, making it 25 straight losses for the Cavs.
Cleveland already held the record for the most losses in a single season, but the league also keeps a record for losses spread over two seasons. This topped that one, too, making it the most consecutive losses in league history, period.
The previous record also was held by the Cavaliers, set from 1982-83.
Cleveland had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but made one pass too many and time expired without a shot going up.
Jason Terry scored 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to make sure the Mavs avoided the embarrassment of being Cleveland's streak-buster. It would've been especially surprising because Dallas came in with the longest active win streak in the NBA, now nine straight.
Shawn Marion had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Dirk Nowitzki scored 12. Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Ian Mahinmi had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Peja Stojakovic had eight points and five rebounds over 20 minutes in his Dallas debut. He signed a few weeks ago, but had been rehabilitating a knee injury.
Cleveland's J.J. Hickson scored 26 points and Ramon Sessions had 19 points and 13 assists.
Antawn Jamison scored 18 points and Christian Eyenga 15.
Everyone knew Cleveland would struggle this season after losing LeBron James, but this?
Since starting 7-9, the Cavs are 1-35. Their last win was on Dec. 18, more than seven weeks ago. Their only glimmer of hope is that the next seven games are at home, where their .227 winning percentage is more than double their success rate on the road.
At least they're still playing hard – in many ways.
They were physical with Dallas, wounding several Mavericks. Nowitzki needed treatment on a jammed wrist and was so frustrated by the rough play that he got rough, too, practically throwing a punch at Sessions in the final minute. A foul was called on the play, but not a flagrant.
Yet Cleveland kept goofing up.
With the Cavs trailing only 80-79, 7-foot center Ryan Hollins lost a jump ball to Terry, who is 6-foot-2. Hollins fouled Terry on the ensuing possession, and he hit a pair of free throws. Then Eyenga shot an airball on a running 8-footer in the lane and Terry came back with another jumper.
The Mavs began to pull away, but the Cavs still had that chance to tie it at the buzzer.
Anthony Parker took a long 3-pointer from well beyond the top of the key with about 5 seconds left and a teammate got the rebound. Cleveland had enough time left to put up another shot, but Jamario Moon passed to Jamison as the horn sounded.
Jamison and Moon put their hands on their heads, elbows out, in shame and disbelief. Hollins walked off with a towel stretched across the top of his head and the same pained look.
NOTES: Dallas missed its first eight shots. ... There was only one lead change, at the end of the first quarter. ... Dallas got more points from its bench than from its starters, while Cleveland had only 11 bench points. ... The Mavs were coming off three straight road games and are headed on the road for the next three as well.