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News » Thunder may win fewest ever


Thunder may win fewest ever


Thunder may win fewest ever
As tough as it might become in Oklahoma City, it's safe to say some things can't get as bad as with the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.

The story goes that on Dec. 20, 1972, with his 76ers 3-30 and on their way to a 141-113 loss, coach Roy Rubin was ready to take forward John Trapp out of the game in his native Detroit. Trapp motioned for Rubin to look into the stands, where one his buddies opened his coat and showed a gun.

"That is a true story," said Fred Carter, a guard on that team and now an NBA TV analyst.

So what happened with Trapp?

"He stayed in the game," Carter said.

Trapp eventually would be let go, and he finished that season - and his career - with the ABA's Denver Rockets. But the Sixers continued to careen downward.

They finished 9-73, the worst mark in NBA history. But now Carter believes the Thunder could challenge that.

Oklahoma City, at 4-29, is on pace to win 10 games. Before Wednesday's 107-100 win over Golden State, the Thunder was on pace to finish 8-74.

"I think so," Carter said when asked if the Thunder could finish with fewer than nine wins. "They just don't have enough talent to compete."

But that doesn't mean Carter wants Oklahoma City, which plays host to the Nuggets tonight, to knock the 76ers out of the record book.

"I would like to keep that record," he said. "Immortality is gained in so many different ways."

There's obviously a long way to go to determine if Oklahoma City can land in NBA infamy, but any time a team gets off to a very bad start, Carter takes note. When the 1997-98 Nuggets started 5-58, Carter thought for sure they would seize the record.

Alas, the Nuggets made a late run to finish 11-71, tied with 1992-93 Dallas for third worst in NBA lore. The second-worst mark belongs to the Providence Steam Rollers, who went 6-42 in 1947-48, their .125 winning percentage better than Oklahoma City's current .121.

"It's been rough," Thunder forward Chris Wilcox said. "We try to talk positive talk, but it's hard. . . . I don't really pay no attention (to Philadelphia's nine-win record). If you pay attention to that, you'll fall into the category of winning nine games or something. . . . We got 82 games, and, hopefully, we can get more than nine out of 82."

Like the 1972-73 76ers, the Thunder has made an in-season coaching change. When P.J. Carlesimo was 1-12, he was replaced with former Nuggets assistant Scott Brooks, who has gone 3-17.

The Sixers began their ill-fated campaign under Rubin, a former Long Island University coach who never had coached in the NBA and would never be seen again after going 4-47. Then Kevin Loughery took over after being a player and finished 5-26.

Carter, who averaged 20 points, was handed a booby prize after the season, the team's MVP trophy.

"It was a strange situation," Carter said. "Was it for me leading the team to nine wins or to 73 losses?"

There were many strange situations that season. After the team's first win following an 0-15 start, a victory party was held, which so infuriated Loughery he wouldn't attend.

Trapp and center Leroy Ellis never were in a mood to party after playing the previous season with the champion Lakers, whose 69-13 record would stand for 24 years as the NBA's best. The two were traded to Philadelphia in the fall of 1972.

"The previous season, with the Lakers, they'd tease us about our record (which actually wasn't so disastrous at 30-52)," said Harvey Pollack, the longtime 76ers public-relations official. "And then they get traded to the team with the worst record in NBA history."

Suffice to say, after learning about Trapp and his Detroit buddies, nobody teased Trapp too much.

Watson trade imminent?

Thunder point guard Earl Watson sounds like an NBA analyst when discussing the chances of a certain player soon being traded.

That player would be him.

"It's very high," said Watson, who played for Denver in 2005-06. "At the same time, I'm trying to make the best of the situation here. But I think the writing is pretty much on the wall."

Watson lost his starting job a month ago to rookie Russell Westbrook. With Westbrook in the team's future, Watson, making $6.2 million this season and $6.6 million next season to conclude his contract, knows he's on the block.

"It's obvious the way things are going," he said. "We're a team that's still in transition. . . . You try to be professional and try to mesh in, and try to make the best out of this team."

Watson stopped short of saying he wants to be dealt. From the sound of things, he wouldn't be too torn up if it happens.

Thou shalt not steal

Before the Nuggets play host to New Orleans on Saturday, somebody might want to get a pair of record holders together.

There's Hornets guard Chris Paul, whose NBA record for consecutive games with a steal was halted at 108 on Christmas Day. Then there's the guy on the other side.

Around when Paul broke Alvin Robertson's record of 105 on Dec. 17, the Elias Sports Bureau uncovered the record holder for most consecutive games without a steal. This adherent to the Eighth Commandment of Thou Shalt Not Steal turned out to be Scott Hastings, the Nuggets' television analyst who, as a Detroit and Denver end-of-the- bench big man, had a 65-game streak from Dec. 16, 1989, to Feb. 11, 1992.

"I've had to step up security more due to autograph hounds and late-night knocks on the door, with me being a record holder," joked Hastings about the time that has passed since ESPN called with Elias' findings.

Hastings only wishes he had known of the record when he set it. He figures he has lost 11/2 decades of giving speeches.

INFOBOX 1

BY THE NUMBERS

2 Utah games Olympians Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer have played together this season. Williams missed 13 early-season games because of a sprained ankle and Boozer has missed the past 21 because of knee trouble and likely is out until after the All-Star break.

GAMES STILL IN ENGLISH

About a fourth of NBA teams have Spanish broadcasts of their games. As for the Charlotte Bobcats, well, they're on a Spanish-language station.

On Thursday, with the start of the New Year, the Bobcats' flagship station, WOLS-FM 106.1, changed to a Spanish-language format.

The Bobcats, though, have decided to keep games on the station for the rest of the season.

Yes, the Bobcats, who have at least one Spanish speaker on the team in Raja Bell, will continue to broadcast the games in English.

HE SAID IT

"It was at the predraft camp in Chicago. We made a commitment to keep up with each other. We made a pact. All three of us were going to teams that weren't very successful the year before."

LeBron James, Cleveland forward, on the bond formed in 2003 among him and fellow draftees Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets and Miami's Dwyane Wade that has led to their continued friendship.

INFOBOX 2

Bottom feeders

How the Oklahoma City Thunder currently compares with the worst teams in NBA history.

Team Season Record Pct.

Philadelphia 1972-73 9-73 .110

Oklahoma City 2008-09 4-29 .121

Providence 1947-48 6-42 .125

Dallas 1992-93 11-71 .134

Nuggets 1997-98 11-71 .134

L.A. Clippers 1986-87 12-70 .146


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 3, 2009

 

 
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