The Cleveland Cavaliers won for the first time since mid-December on Friday night, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 126-119 in overtime at The Q. Antawn Jamison, the Cavs' best player, a 34-year-old power forward who would be a sure bet to be traded if not for a bit of an onerous contract, led Cleveland with 35 points. J.J. Hickson, his understudy and in large part the hope of the franchise heading into this season, scored 27 and had 14 rebounds and four blocks.
Cleveland snapped a brutal 26-game losing streak, a run that tied the expansion Tampa Bay Bucs as the longest in American pro sports history. Basketball-Reference's win probability model gave Cleveland just a 30 percent likelihood of winning the game, due to the teams' performance to date this season. Considering that the Clippers are no world-beaters and that the game was in Cleveland, that L.A. was so more likely to win heading certainly spoke to how far the Cavs have fallen.
Now, a winning streak could start. Sports fans had looked forward to the Cavs' Sunday match-up against the Washington Wizards in Cleveland; the Wizards are currently 0-25 on the road, with a visit to the Cavs representing an obvious best chance at victory away from D.C. The game termed the "Toilet Bowl" won't have quite the same cachet now that the Cavaliers aren't riding what could have been a 27-game losing streak, but it could still be a dramatic affair. No NBA team has ever gone 0-41 on the road. Washington has some soft road opponents remaining (Piston, Raptors, these very Cavs again to end the season). But getting of that awful road streak soon could be a real relief for the Wizards.
We'll see if shaking off this awful losing streak will help the Cavs pick up some more wins.