Prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers Losing Their Historic 26th Straight Game Wednesday Night, Daniel Gibson Reflects on Team’s Woeful SkidFebruary 10, 2011 – 9:00 am by Michael Bean
After Wednesday night’s loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ losing streak has hit 26 games. With the loss, the Cavs matched the longest stretch of futility by any team in professional sports, a mark previously held by alone by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Daniel Gibson, who will participate in the 3-Point Contest at the 2011 NBA All Star Game, has to be as frustrated as anybody that former friend and running mate LeBron James bolted to Miami this offseason. But as you’ll hear, Gibson has moved on — both with his relationship with LeBron and thinking about what might have been if King James was still in Cleveland. Only problem is despite legitimately sounding like a solid guy and complimentary leader in the right situation, he simply doesn’t have the ability to put the young and injured Cavs on his back in any way shape or form. No knock on him, but he just can’t even come close to willing his team out of a historic skid like the Cavs presently find themselves (still) mired in.
Gibson joined WKNR in Cleveland earlier this week (prior to Wednesday night’s 26th straight loss) to talk about how he’s personally dealing with the historic stretch of futility, how he’s surprised that the Cavs have fallen this much since LeBron left town, how he does think though that the injuries to Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao have really crippled the team, how Coach Byron Scott has been an amazing steadfast and supportive leader through the team’s struggles, how he’s not thought much about encountering LeBron James — a former close friend — when representing the Cavs in the 3-point shootout at this year’s All Star Game, and most importantly, how he’s appreciative of the loyal Cavs fans that are riding out this tough stretch, and confident that the team will reward them with a sweet return to prominence eventually.
On how he’s dealing with the historic losing streak:
“Well I know myself I’m, able to deal with it pretty well. Because of the fact that I’m so accustomed to winning and have been on winning teams pretty much my entire NBA career, I understand what it’s all about and what it takes to win. Right now we’re just trying to figure those things out. So once you get to this level you never stay here, so I know that everyone that’s a loyal Cleveland Cavaliers fan, they can definitely know that we’ll be back. But it’s just a process that we’re going through now, but trust that the guys are working hard and we’re going to figure this thing out.”
On how surprised he is that the Cavaliers have struggled this much in the post LeBron era:
“Without a doubt I thought coming into the season that we had the talent level to compete for a playoff spot. And I think we started out the season that way. But a lot of things have happened throughout the season. Andy [Varejao] is a vital part of the things we try to do, and so is Mo [Williams]. And when you take those two guys out of the equation, then you’re forced to play guys that have very little NBA experience. Not that those guys aren’t good NBA players and going to be great NBA players. But you know, at this level it takes time to learn how to win and learn how to play. You just take your bumps as they come and figure out what it takes to get to that level. But the one thing I do know is the fact that we’ve lost so many games consecutively, I’ve seen the look in the guys eyes and we don’t want this feeling again. So it’s like I see everybody learning, we’ve shown a lot of progress, there’s been close ball games. So it’s just a matter of us getting over the hump and I think we will.”
On how important it is for the Cavs to snap their losing streak early on in their eight game home stand to end the month of February (it didn’t happen on Wednesday night of course):
“I think it will be big for us to just win. I think when you win you get that feeling back. You get that feeling, you get that confidence that it can be done. When you go on a losing streak of any sort — three games, four games, whatever it is — you sometimes tend to lose that confidence and that belief that you can win games. So once you get that first win it normally turns into more. So it would be real big for us to go out tomorrow and get the ball rolling again.”
On what Coach Byron Scott has been like with the young skidding Cavs:
“Unbelievable. That’s the word I could use for him as a coach. For us being that young of a ball club, and on top of that just coaching through the injuries, just implementing a new system, everything about Coach Scott just breeds confidence and hard work. And I think that’s what we need moving forward in the future. And throughout this losing streak he hasn’t tried to hit us over the top of the head and compound the fact that we’ve lost games. He’s figured out ways to show us what we didn’t do right the last game and how we going to figure it out and work on it to get better. And I think all the guys on the team want to fight for him and want to win for him. That’s all you can ask for in a leader, and all the guys on the team respect him and we love him.”
If there’s anything he’d like to share about his current relationship with LeBron:
“It is what it is. For me it’s just basketball. I spent…we had years together, seven years, I mean six years, five or whatever you want to call it. We had times here, but now he’s on a different team with a different organization. It’s exactly that. You just approach it the same way. My focus is to go down there and represent Cleveland because that’s my team and who I love to play for. I’d love to be here for the rest of my career and that’s my focus, to go up there and put on a show for the fans there. I won’t even be concerned with what he’s got going on.”
Whether he has anything he’d like to say to the fans who have stuck with the team through the painful streak:
“My biggest thing is I’m a big believer in the greater the test, the greater the testimony. So the fact that we lost 25 games in a row and we have the longest streak in NBA history, okay you can say that, but I think it will be so much better and so much sweeter when we fight just like the city of Cleveland always does, we fight we fight. And at the end of the day when we get back to that Championship level, all the people that doubted that we would do it, you know the people that held on and continued to have faith, it will be that much sweeter for everybody, for all the loyal fans. So from the team and myself, I just want to say thank you, we appreciate it, we still see your support, we love your support and we’re going to keep working and fighting. And just trust that we’re going to be back on top soon.”