Knicks lug 17-game skid into meeting with 76ers
On Monday night, the New York Knicks broke the franchise record for longest single-season losing streak.
On Wednesday, the Knicks may move another defeat closer to their all-time record -- while also getting a glimpse at an opponent that proves such struggles can lead to a positive end.
The Knicks will look to snap their epic skid Wednesday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden.
New York's losing streak hit 17 games Monday night, when a late comeback bid fell short in a 107-104 defeat to the host Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 76ers' two-game winning streak ended Tuesday, when they lost to the visiting Boston Celtics 112-109.
The Knicks' defeat at Cleveland served as another mile marker in a forgettable season that has seen New York lose 25 of the past 26 as well as 30 of the past 32 games. While New York's 17-game losing streak isn't technically the longest in team history -- the 1984-85 and 1985-86 squads combined to lose 20 straight games spanning the two seasons -- it is the longest in the NBA since the Memphis Grizzlies lost 19 straight last season.
The nearly six-week long skid -- the Knicks last won on Jan. 4, the day before the NFL playoffs started -- has also opened up the possibility that New York may threaten the longest losing streaks in NBA history, both of which have a 76ers connection.
The 2010-11 Cavaliers and the 2013-14 76ers are tied for the longest single-season losing streak at 26 games. Philadelphia has the overall record, a 28-game drought that spanned the last 10 games of the 2014-15 season and the first 18 games of the 2015-16 campaign.
The 76ers' epic losing streaks, of course, came during "The Process," the mammoth rebuild in which the club stockpiled young players while going 47-199 in the three seasons between 2013-14 and 2015-16.
If all goes according to plan for the Knicks, they will lose a lot less often than the 76ers before turning things around. New York, which has the worst record in the NBA at 10-46, is positioned for a top-three draft pick and has enough cap space to sign two top-tier free agents.
Of course, the Knicks can't quite say they are tanking with the hopes of being much better next year, so it's up to first-year head coach David Fizdale to put a positive spin on the mounting losing streak.
"A loss is a loss is a loss," Fizdale said. "Right now, all we're focused on is getting better for the next game and trying to win the next game. Again, the beauty of our team, they're not caught up in all that. They're going to keep trying to find a way back into games, back into a way to compete to win and at some point, we'll break and get our win."
The 76ers finally began breaking out last year, when they went 52-30 and fell to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Philadelphia was active at the trade deadline, when it acquired Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers to go with a nucleus that features Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler.
"As we have said, there is going to be ups and downs," Harris said after the defeat Tuesday. "It's just, when we do have a game like this that we lose, we make an adjustment from it and we understand how we need to play to be the best team that we can be. So I think there are things from this game that we can take and go back and look at and get better at, and just move forward from there."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 13, 2019