Down they go, down into a place most teams do not want to imagine. Where darkness prevails and laughter can be heard in the distance.
The Washington Wizards are not going mad, although they could be excused for thinking things cannot get any crazier. The losses mount and the excuses become small.
The Wizards have been bad before - they are well on their way to their fifth consecutive losing season - but are reaching for new lows this time around. At 3-22, they claim the worst record in the NBA.
They are so bad they have four fewer victories that the Charlotte Bobcats, who have lost 15 consecutive games.
They are so bad, they do not have a scorer or rebounder in the NBA's top 40.
They are so bad, that after they lost 100-68 to a Detroit Pistons team that had been 7-21, the coach Randy Wittman said: "I apologise to ownership, our fans back home that watched it - if they did watch it. I'd have turned it off after the first five minutes. That falls on me."
There is very little that the Wizards do well right now. The night after their blowout loss in Detroit, they played the Pistons again at home. They lost by nine and called it progress.
Injuries have been a problem; at the last count they had only nine healthy players. Their star, in theory, is the point guard John Wall, who has yet to play a game this season. No one know when he will return. The Wizards are also without Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker and AJ Price, all useful NBA players.
Last season they were 20-46 in a lockout-abbreviated season. Twenty victories this season is looking like dream material.
"Everybody in here needs to be more pro," said Nene, the forward from Brazil. "It doesn't matter. The young guys, veterans, everybody needs to play more hard, more pride, more together. You can't put in heart, you can't cheat that. They need to have the thing … It's embarrassing."
It's also the worst start to a season in franchise history. The Wizards are the lowest-scoring team in the league (88.8 points per game) and usually appear uninspired.
Their leading scorer is the third-year guard Jordan Crawford, who has started fewer than half their games, at only 15.5 points per game. Nene leads them in rebounding at just 6.2 per game. Their first-round draft pick, the shooting guard Bradley Beal, is averaging 12.2 points but shooting only 36.1 per cent.
"Right now, we're in a funk," Crawford said. "We got to get ourselves out of it. Everybody is kind of second-guessing themselves."
Down in the darkness.
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