The last time the Wizards lost 13 straight
A few weeks ago, the Caps tied and then smashed the franchise record for consecutive wins, prompting me to dig through the archives for the last time the franchise had won 10 straight.
Now, here's the reverse. The Wizards have lost 13 straight, equaling the franchise mark last reached in March/April of 1995. Might as well re-live that magic time, right?
Loss 1: Losing by 16 late in the third quarter at Portland, the Bullets rallied behind Chris Webber and dreww within two. But Rod Strickland made eight straight free throws down the stretch to seal things for the Blazers. He finished with 26. Juwan Howard missed the game with an ankle injury.
"We were hanging around and hanging around, and had a chance at the end," Rex Chapman said. "It came down to one or two shots at the end, and this time we didn't hit them."
Loss 2: Up by 14 with under 10 minutes to play, the Bullets saw their lead evaporate against the Sonics, who closed the game on a 32-13 run. With the ball in his hands and the game still tied in the final minute, Chapman tossed up an air ball.
"It's a game we should have won," Webber said. "We put our heart out there. We got good games from Gheorghe and Rex. We just couldn't do enough. We have to give Seattle credit. It's easy to lay down and die, and they didn't. This is the kind of game we'll win one of these days."
Loss 3: Webber had the first triple-double of his career, and the team's first in more than two years. The Bullets lost to the Lakers anyhow, with Vlade going for 25-and-20. Yet again, it was close late; this time, the Bullets led entering the fourth quarter.
"I want to get my life settled," Webber said the following day. "I need a place to call home. I love the city. I love playing with Juwan. I think we can build something special. I want to play here for a long time."
Loss 4: The Bullets lose by 28 at Utah, their most lopsided loss of the season. Jerry Sloan was the Jazz's coach.
"This is the kind of game that every team in the league plays during the season," Webber said. "We haven't had many of them. The only thing I don't like is that people will look at the score and say 'Oh, it was the Bullets.' That's not the way we've been playing. We had a hell of a road trip. We could have won any of the first three games, and tonight we just got jumped by a real good team."
Loss 5: Back home, the Bullets were leading late against the Heat before Khalid Reeves went on an 11-2 run by himself. Howard and Scott Skiles were still out with injuries, and Doug Overton was playing on an hour of sleep after his wife gave birth to their first child the night before. Also, Chapman and Jim Lynam exchanged angry words on the bench.
"I think everybody is feeling the affect of losing 51 games," Chapman said. "It's nothing more than that."
Loss 6: Howard returned and re-injured his ankle, and the Bullets blew a 19-point lead at Cleveland.
"For sheer incompetence and being able to put stretches of brilliance and ineptitude into a single game, the Bullets have never had a team like this one," Richard Justice wrote.
Loss 7: Leading by eight at Detroit with 10 minutes left, the Bullets lost. Rookie Grant Hill had 33.
"We're good enough to be there at the end," Lynam said. "But for whatever reason, we don't win too many games."
Loss 8: The Bullets held Reggie Miller without a field goal, but still lost to the Larry Brown-led Pacers in Indiana. Howard missed the game after hurting himself in practice.
"We're playing for pride right now," Webber said. "We don't want to have the worst record in the league. We want to keep at it and look forward to next season. Once we get one, two or three years under our belt, we're going to be dangerous."
Loss 9: Back in Landover, the Bullets opened up a 14-point fourth-quarter lead against the Suns, and then blew it. Chapman was sidelined by a pulled abdominal muscle two minutes before tipoff, and Cheaney left with a cut eyelid in the third quarter and received five stitches after getting elbowed by Charles Barkley.
"They were geeked up for the game," Barkley said. "They jumped on us, but in the second half, the best team won. We played terrible and were still able to win."
Loss 10: Before the 1995 season, the Bullets had only lost 10 games in a row once since coming to D.C. But this game, a home loss to Charlotte, marked their second 10-game skid of the season. Webber had another triple-double, for the hell of it, and Cheaney ditched his goggles and still scored 23. The team shot 1-for-13 from three-point range, with the only make an intended pass that was off target. Really.
"It's been a tough year, but I'm proud of the fact that we're still out there trying to compete and do the best we can," Cheaney said. "Our future is bright. Maybe when we start winning some of these games we'll look back on this as a good learning experience."
Loss 11: Gheorghe Muresan scored a career-high 30 points, but the Bullets lost to the Celtics at home, guaranteeing their worst-ever home record. After the game they got a locker-room visit from draft prospect Jerry Stackhouse.
"It's hard," Webber said. "I've never felt this way about basketball in my life. Before, I felt that if you wake me up at 6 a.m., we could go shoot or something. If you wake me up at 6 now, there might be a fight. It's definitely harder to handle losing. I just hope it changes soon."
Loss 12: The Bullets committed nine turnovers during the first 10 minutes of a loss in Atlanta. They had only 10 healthy players, if you include Howard, who returned yet again.
"I can't say I'll be disappointed when it's over," Webber said of the season. "The truth is, it's hard. I don't want it to seem like I'm complaining. But losing like this wears on anyone. We're trying. We're still trying. But it's not enough....At this point, the future is the only thing that keeps us going. We're going to get better, and when we do, we're never going to sink like this again."
Loss 13: After a loss at Madison Square Garden, Webber went off.
"I won't ever lose 13 games in a row again -- ever," he said. "This is an embarrassment."
Then he guaranteed a win in the team's next game.
"We're better than 13 in a row," he said. "We wanted to win this one for coach and for ourselves. We didn't want the longest losing streak in Bullets history. We don't want to be remembered as the worst team in Bullets history. This is the worst loss of the season. Not that we haven't had a lot of tough ones. When you tie a record, that's embarrassing. I'm just glad we're still together. I've been on winning teams that weren't this close. I couldn't be more proud of these guys -- unless we had a winning record."
The End: The guarantee came through, in a home game against the Mike Dunleavy-led Bucks, even with Cheaney sidelined by the flu. Again with just 10 healthy players, Webber and Howard combined for 60 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists.
"We're young and have to learn how to win," Webber said. "That's what this game is about. It almost slipped away and we got it back. I think we're going to get all right."
The team split their final four games, and finished 21-61, at the time the worst mark in franchise history.
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