The Philadelphia 76ers were in “desperation mode” Saturday night in order to gain a victory, something that was elusive to the team for two months. They played the Detroit Pistons at Wells Fargo Center and the team did not disappoint their fans. As time was winding down in the third quarter, the fans were standing to cheer their team because it was clear at that time that the 76ers were going to win with ease.
The 76ers snapped their NBA record-tying 26-game losing streak by crushing the Detroit Pistons 123-98 to avoid establishing the longest skid in U.S. major pro sports history.
“It’s not something I want to be a part of,” 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams said, “so it’s great that we got this win.”
Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young each scored 21 points for the 76ers in the impressive victory, leading by as much as 32 points and tallying a season-high 70 points in the first half. They also ended an 18-game home losing streak, which was one shy of another NBA record.
“We were just happy to get a win,” Young said. “I don’t think it was for the streak or anything like that, we just wanted to go out there and win a basketball game and continue to just play.”
The Sixers were expected to be among the NBA’s worst teams, but at the beginning of the season they went on a 3-0 start by beating the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat which seemed to fool everybody just for a moment. Then reality set in, the Sixers traded three of their top six players before February’s trade deadline, replacing them with what coach Brett Brown said is the youngest team in league history. When you have an extremely young team like that without veterans to be examples of how to play in the NBA, it’s hard to get production on the court and hard for the players to understand what it takes and the right way to play.
Their poor execution showed during the 26-game losing streak where the 76ers held a lead for only a meager 20 seconds per 12 minute quarter. Only 20 seconds!
“We’ve been transparent from day one”, coach Brown said. “That we are trying to grow something and rebuild something and the short-term pain will fade to a distant memory in September and we are staying strong in our approach and that’s the lens we are looking through.”
There is young talent on the roster, with Carter-Williams the possible Rookie of the Year and Nerlens Noel still out recovering from a torn ACL, also a lottery pick in last year’s draft. Brown doesn’t question the Sixers’ plans or his past decision to leave the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach position for his current head coaching position in Philly.
Right now the Sixers might look like an embarrassing organization, but in the long-term if they have faith in the front office and they feel like they can recover, this episode will definitely fade into oblivion and probably won’t be mentioned again unless there’s another team in the future who’s close to breaking the teams’ dubious losing record. Let’s think about it, did you really know the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers had the longest losing streak? Did you really care?
Even with the 26-game losing streak and a record of 16-57, the 76ers are not the worst team this season. The unpretentious Milwaukee Bucks are two games behind them with 14-59 record. There’s an obvious upside with Philadelphia, but when you talk about Milwaukee and the players they brought in during the offseason in O.J. Mayo and Zaza Pachulia, combined with the players they already had on the roster, isn’t it more embarrassing for the Milwaukee Bucks as opposed to the Sixers?