NBA PM: Avoiding The Worst Losing Streak Ever
The post-LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers have the distinction of holding the longest losing streak in NBA history, which many would argue makes them the worst team in the history of the NBA. This season, the Charlotte Bobcats are working to make sure the Cavaliers maintain that distinction.
Last season’s Bobcats had the worst year, statistically, in NBA history, going 7-59 in the lockout-shortened, 66-game marathon. They ended the season on a 23-game losing streak, just three shy of Cleveland’s record-breaking bout with futility, and so they must win one of their first four games to avoid supplanting the Cavaliers in that most dubious of records.
Some head coaches would probably prefer to have their team focus on the season at hand, not dwell on the failures of the past, especially a new head coach who had nothing to do with the past. In the case of Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap, however, he wants his team focused on that record and on avoiding it.
“I think we’ve got to talk about it and we’ve got to get it done at some point, and obviously the sooner the better,” Dunlap told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s an ownership issue for all of us, so the sooner we can address that the better off, but I think that the elephant in the locker room is the one you got to shoot and we got to get that thing done.”
“Ownership means we own it, we avoid nothing,” Dunlap continued. “It’s there, everybody is talking about it in terms of… it’s one of those things the media wants to bring to you with heaviness. Like you eluded to, it’s an opportunity to knock one off the board, let’s go get it and talk about it openly because I think if you avoid those things, there’s a lot of other things that lead to that kind of thinking and I’m not of those, let’s go right at it.”
Ben Gordon, likewise, is new to the losing streak, but he is no stranger to rebuilding and he likes what he has seen from his new teammates in preseason.
“If you look at the energy of the guys, each and every game hasn’t wavered,” Gordon said. “That’s a good sign, regardless of it’s a win or, early on, a first win, or if it was a loss. The main thing is to just be consistent with your energy and your effort and eventually things will fall your way.”
A couple of guys who suffered through last season’s futility are very optimistic that the Bobcats can take a step forward and avoid setting a new dubious record.
“Definitely,” said Kemba Walker without hesitation. “We’ll be fine. What happened last year, it happens. Teams lose and they have bad years. The good teams are the teams who stick together through all the battles and through all the bad times. The only thing we can do is go up; we can’t do any worse. I think we’re getting a lot better as a team and it’s been showing.”
“I think it’s there,” said Gerald Henderson of the subject of the losing streak. “It’s there and you can’t really avoid it. But we do have a new team, we do have five new guys that are going to play, as well as a brand new coach and new coaching staff. We have a whole new attitude and style of play, so we want a fresh start, but it’s there. We want to go ahead and get our first win early, so that can be a goal of ours, to get it out of the way early so we’ll be looking to do that.”
One area that Henderson believes his team has improved already is their defensive scheme.
“I think, number one, our defense has been pretty good,” Henderson said. “We’ve played some pretty good defensive quarters and Coach has been trying out different groups to see if we can pressure a bit more. We’ve used smaller groups so we can do a lot of switching and keep our pressure on. I think our defense has been definitely pretty good in preseason.”
The Bobcats did win one preseason game, and while that doesn’t count towards ending the streak, it’s a positive sign. Their season begins on Friday, when they host the Indiana Pacers, and then they play in Phoenix, host Dallas and then go to New Orleans. Their best bet at ending the streak might be the Suns game, as Phoenix has a number of new faces and young players, much like the Bobcats do. It would certainly be a nice reward for their home crowd if they ended the steak before it reaches record proportions and if they did so in the friendly confines of Time Warner Cable Arena.
Sessions Hopes To Bring Some Lakers Mojo
One key influence as the Charlotte Bobcats look to avoid a date with destiny is newcomer Ramon Sessions, who spent part of last season as the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. He talks with HOOPSWORLD about his new team, how his time in Los Angeles and playing with Kobe Bryant changed his perspective and more in this exclusive interview:
Lin Hopes For A Winning Beginning
The 2012-13 NBA season officially got underway last night, but after just three games last night, the vast majority of the league will actually kick off their schedules tonight. Among them is the Houston Rockets, a team very much in disarray, but also a team with a great deal of potential. That potential starts with point guard Jeremy Lin, once discarded by the franchise and now hailed a franchise cornerstone. He will make the first opening night start of his career as the Rockets take on the Detroit Pistons this evening.
“I just want to help the team win,” Lin said in a recent interview with Rockets.com. “We really want to get this game. We want to get off to the right start. I think this team believes in itself and I think tonight we need to come out and do a great job of getting out to a fast start and then closing the game. I think that’s important for us, especially going forward with the season we’re going to have – we need to make sure that we win as many games as we can and this is one that we all think that we need to get.”
Lin didn’t gave much of a preseason, struggling to find his shot and plagued by turnovers. He did have 12 assists against the Memphis Grizzlies and had his best shooting night by far in the finale against the Orlando Magic. He connected on five of his ten shots in that game, something he hopes will help him get on track as the season begins.
“Yeah, I think that was just big for me because I didn’t see it in the previous six games,” Lin said. “But, you know, this is just one of those things that will come around and I think for me it’s coming around right now, and I just need to keep going, keep getting better and hopefully it continues – that’s the goal.”
Tonight Lin and company will take on another young team in the Pistons, who went 4-4 in preseason plan and boasts an impressive front line. It will be interesting to see how the newly-improved back court of the Rockets does as Lin and James Harden take the court together for the first time. Harden, of course, was acquired over the weekend and signed an $80 million contract extension with the Rockets this afternoon. There should be a great deal of motivation, though Lin says he has not set any specific goals for himself this season.
“To be honest, no, because I don’t know how it’s going to work,” Lin said. “Every season, every team has a different identity and I think I need to find out what that means; maybe on one team it’s more rebounds or assists, I don’t know. For me it’s just going in and being aggressive, taking what the defense gives me and then just trying to be effective and whatever the line is at the end of the day, that’s what the line is. But I think we’re all focused on just trying to make the right play to win.”
The Rockets and Pistons tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.
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HOOPSWORLD Season Previews
The 2012-13 NBA season is rapidly approaching and there are plenty of early storylines emerging.
Can the Miami HEAT repeat their championship quest from last season? Is this the final championship run for the aging Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs? Will Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks finally put all of their talent together and join the league’s elite? Can the new-look Los Angeles Lakers, now boasting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, unseat the Oklahoma City Thunder as Western Conference champions? Is this the year the Minnesota Timberwolves reach the playoffs behind All-Star Kevin Love? Likewise, the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are poised to make playoff runs of their own, but can they seal the deal? Are the Dallas Mavericks toast, or will their new group of hungry veterans surprise us all?
The HOOPSWORLD team has these questions and more all covered and you can find season previews for all 30 NBA teams by following this LINK.
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