In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like the 1988-89 Miami Heat and the 1998-99 Clippers, who won last night because the New Jersey Nets lost.
Those teams now officially suck less than this year's edition of the Nets, who lost their 18th straight and broke the record shared by the Clippers and the Heat. Barry Petchesky live blogged the game for some reason, and it turned out to be something like live blogging the Hindenburg. I'm not sure what's sadder: the 49 points the Nets surrendered to the Mavs in the second quarter or this exchange between Nets interim sap Tom Barrise and a fan:
He reached out and blurted, "Tom … Tom …" and clenched Barrise's fist and appeared to be as serious about this moment as any in his life, when he blurted these words straight from his broken Nets heart.
"One and 17 tonight, coach!" he said, and held on for a moment and repeated himself.
"One and 17!"
One day, the Nets will win a game, and perhaps they will feel about their accomplishment as former Heat guard Rory Sparrow did about his team's first victory in 1988 (over the Clippers, naturally). He calls it "the game I'll never forget." And there is hope yet that the Nets will not suck as hard as the NBA's all-time leader in suck, the 1972-73 76ers, who won nine games in all. Reports Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus:
First, let's try to establish what a streak like this really says about a team. Dean Oliver considered the issue in a chapter of his seminal Basketball on Paper devoted to winning and losing streaks. Oliver showed that a team with a 20-game losing streak at any point in an NBA season has a 19 percent shot of finishing the year with 21 wins or more. So while an 18-game streak is certainly a bad sign, it's hardly proof the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers' 9-73 record is in grave jeopardy.
Honorable mentions: Wisconsin, of course. And Illinois, too, because, holy shit, did you watch that game? A 23-point a comeback? Led by two freshmen and a guy who moves like something out of a Boris Karloff movie? Oskee fucking wow-wow.