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Sixers tie NBA record with 26th consecutive loss, this one at hands of Rockets

Mar 27, 2014, 11:03 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers won a basketball game we were going to spend the next four days talking about how Peyton Manning was going to carve up the Seahawks defense. We had nine more days of hype until the Sochi Winter Olympics opened (and one Olympic ring didn’t).

Since Jan. 29 the Philadelphia 76ers have not won a game — that stretch reached 26 in a row at the hands of the Rockets Thursday night, 120-98.

That ties the NBA record set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sixers can break the record and own the dubious distinction outright Saturday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.

Loss 26, like so many of the losses before it, was simply a matter of the more talented team exerting itself. The Sixers went into this season looking to compile draft picks and be bad so those picks had value. The result is that most nights Philadelphia is outclassed.

The Rockets start All-Star Dwight Howard at center, the Sixers start Henry Sims, a guy who has bounced around between the NBA and the D-League and was a throw in as part of the Spencer Hawes trade with the Cavaliers. The Rockets have James Harden — who had a triple double of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists — while the Sixers gave pretty good run to 10-day contract guys Casper Ware (22 minutes) and James Nunnally (18).

The Sixers tried to show some fight early on. It was 43-43 as the Sixers were hanging around midway through the second quarter, but then Howard (5-of-5 for 15 points in the first half) and Harden returned to the game and led a 20-6 run to pull away 63-49 lead at the half. Houston shot 52 percent and had 20 fast break points in the first half.

You had a feeling how the second half would go… and it did. Houston blew it open in the third quarter, scoring 37 points (to the Sixers 31) and it was 100-80 at the end of three. The fourth quarter was just garbage time.

Like the last couple months, really.

James Anderson put up 20 on the Rockets for the Sixers, he has big games against them. But that was about the only performance of positive note.

I’d say Sixers fans should blame management for this mess, except most of them seem to be on board with “Team Tank.” They will not be booing the Sixers if they lose on Saturday and set a new record, they will be cheering. This is Philly — they are both harsh and smart fans. They know (or at least hope) this is temporary. This makes more sense to them then cheering for Mark Sanchez.

The Sixers players, they will just keep trying. And one night they will not be overmatched. One night they will win.

  1. elwaysagenius - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Still a better record than the Bucks

    • phillyfan11 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Speaks volumes about how bad the Bucks are.

    • sumkat - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      One more game in the W column for the Bucks, and that’s no longer true

      • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Bring it!

  2. rjmarrella - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    It’s been tough here in philly. But they are getting more attention now than they have had in a while. The Sixers had to go and have this type of season. They had suffered as a middling team since AI left and never managed out of the pack. They tried to make splashy moves like Brand and Bynum, and got nowhere with them. It was time to start over. And MCW’s play, the prospect of Noel and the hope of Wiggins or Parker have us fans talking about them.
    The streak is a bummer. It sucks, plain and simple. But you can’t really blame them. They aren’t dogs, they just – as you put it – are outclassed.

  3. supremekingz - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Do away with the current lottery system and allow all 30 teams one lottery ball each draft. No more rewarding garbage teams for tanking and no more horrible picks for winners. All teams are FORCED to play every game to win because there is no incentive to lose. Fans will love it too

    • timb12 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      This is a terrible idea. I agree tanking is a problem, but this isn’t the solution.

      • paleihe - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        This whole tanking thing is dumb.

        To get good, you have to go through a rough patch to get good lottery picks, that much is obvious. Because being 7-10th seed in your conference is basketball purgatory.

        So, when teams decide they have to rebuild, they do what Philly has done. Get rid of their good pieces for future potential. When Memphis traded Gasol, were people calling it tanking? Nope, they merely decided to rebuild and that was the first step.

        Tanking is just the hot word to use right now. And, since there are plenty of blogs, sports radio/talk shows, the media has to have something to talk about.

        Anyway, just my two cents.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      What happens when a prominent winning team, for example the Heat, happens to get the number 1 overall pick? With your system, they’re just as likely to get it as anybody else, so it very much could happen. Do you really think giving a team with LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen the number 1 overall pick is good for competitive balance?

      How about if the Spurs get it, and the Spurs add a number 1 overall pick to a team with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Leonard? Etc.

      You solve the tanking issue, but then you raise the prospect of winning teams getting the best picks as talent poor teams are stuck with late round picks, and the talent gap would then grow.

  4. thevikesarebest - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Hahaha they are a wnba team.yet still better than the laughable lakers.

  5. mitchem85 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Supreme,worst idea ever.. Won’t work and won’t happen

  6. sumkat - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    It’s the NBA’s fault teams tank. They’ve changed the game so you can ONLY win with superstars (every league favors “stars” a bit, but the NBA is by far the worst), then they act surprised when bad teams see guys that COULD be superstars, and tank to try and get them.

    The Sixers aren’t a joke NOW, they are a rebuilding team. They have been a joke since AI left. Too good to get a true star in the draft, not good enough to contend. At least now there is some sort of plan, instead of “lets win 35-40 games, then get smoked by the first decent team we face in the playoffs”

    • ryanrockzzz - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:36 AM

      They were not very good many years when AI was there. They’ve been a joke for a bout 23 years now, save the one year when they went to the finals.

    • rpearlston - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      And you think that’s only happening in the NBA? Take a look at MLB, and in particular, at the AL East. Try moving up in that division with 3 of the 5 teams being being dominant, and not only within the division.

  7. rgledz - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    Only in the NBA. What a joke, how much more obvious could it be that they’re tanking. Doesn’t matter though, the lottery is fixed every year. The Lakers will get the number 1 pick to cement that fact.

    • ryanrockzzz - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:40 AM

      How is this only the NBA? In the MLB, the Houston Astros traded away Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt etc so they could “rebuild.” They purposly held back players last year like George Springer who was having a 40/40 season in the minors to ensure they lost and they didn’t have to start paying them arbitration sooner. And better yet, in the MLB the worst record is promised the 1st overall pick. That’s tanking at its finest as well, and arguably is worse than the NBA version.

      In the NHL the Edmonton Oilers did it for years with no luck, and the Florida Panthers were using that model heading into this season. They only signed veterans to reach the cap floor, and have since traded away a few of them at the trade deadline.

      • rpearlston - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        And then there’s the AL East, in which it’s possible to get past the top three, even with a record that would have won any other division in either league.

        Yes, the Astros played the system least season, as did the Marlins and the Mets. The l and Reatter two did so with their trades to Toronto, in which they gave up veterans, including Dickey, Buehrle and Reyes, for most of Toronto’s top prospects. They, too, are expected to challenge in their divisions this season.

  8. 00maltliquor - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    If your not an NBA die hard junkie, that pic of the Sixers would have any casual fan saying, “Who the **bleep** are those guys!?”

    • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      D-league baby. Trying to find that diamond in the ruff.

  9. casualcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    I’d honestly prefer a switch to where all 14 teams that miss the playoffs have equal odds of getting the number 1 pick.

    So long as you reward teams for being more awful than other bad teams, you create a big incentive to tank. With this system, teams don’t have to be awful to have a shot at the number 1 overall pick. They just have to miss the playoffs.

    So at the end of the year, your team either makes the playoffs and benefits from the extra game revenue and increased fan interest, or your team has a shot at the top pick in the draft. Once you’re out of the playoff race, you have ZERO incentive to tank because wins don’t hurt you anymore.

    Still imperfect, but a better system than the current one.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:10 AM

      That’s kind of a dope idea. All lottery teams get equal amount of ping pong balls. There would still be a lottery system in play, but no team would want to be top 3-5 worst because it wouldn’t benefit them any more then just barely missing out as a 9th seed. Hmmmm….you’re on to something. E-mail Silver with that idea. I’m being serious. (But do it after this draft, my teams got a good chance of getting one of the big 6 THIS draft LOL!)

      • rpearlston - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        That’s a great idea. And all that’s necessary is to put a few more balls into the drum. That part isn’t a big deal, which makes it simple to do. The flip side, though, is that that change may be too simple for “some people” to comprehend.

      • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re for it or you’re not.

        It’s not a bad idea if you’re trying to curb tanking, but I don’t why all of a sudden tanking has become such a hot topic. I don’t remember anyone crying foul when it was the Colts in NFL, Spurs or Celtics doing it to land their superstars. Is it just because Philly is doing it?

  10. campcouch - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:04 AM

    Or go the NFL route. Draft by order of worst record and don’t allow a team more than two consecutive #1 picks. The worst team isn’t guaranteed to get the #1 one pick with a lottery (unless it’s rigged) which makes no sense. You can draft between 1-4 back to back to back years and never get the #1 or even the #2,so the stink continues. The Sixers were smart to tear apart their team. They were going to be in a perpetual battle with Atlanta,Charlotte and Washington for 7 and 8 seedings. Cool to make the playoffs,but if you know it means a first round exit every year,why keep rehashing and paying the same mediocre players big money.

    • rpearlston - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I don’t know how the NBA determines it’s draft order, but your suggestion is similar to the order of the draw in MLB. The league that lost the WS picks first, and the leagues then alternate picks (with certain specific exceptions due to free agency compensation, etc. But within each league, the draft order goes from worst to first.

      The NBA could alter that by having the division that won the title be the last division to pick, and the divisions then alternate, according to the record of the division winners, and then by record within the division. I don’t know how they do this part now, but the NBA would also need to ensure that first round picks cannot be traded. That way, the worst teams get the better picks, and last season’s winner will always get the last pick of every round.

  11. supremekingz - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    Abolishing the current lottery system is necessary. I understand people don’t want the best team to get a #1 pick but why not? Do you realize how many teams have had a #1 pick and completely blown it due to terrible scouting?

    Cleveland last year. The Blazers could have had Durant, etc.

    Besides, the crazy salary cap would stop any team from truly being a powerhouse for long anyway.

    As long as the NBA rewards tanking, you can get used to teams trading away good players for peanuts at the trade deadline to tank more. And you can get used to lineups like the 76ers that were created to lose

    • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      It’s how you get good.

  12. ryanrockzzz - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    I’m curious as to why and also how people think this draft system will get fixed. First, if you’re a fan of any other team, why should it matter at all what the Sixers are doing? You won’t have to worry about facing them for 2-3 years at a minimum in any competitive way. If you are a Sixers fan, you have to be thrilled the franchise finally has a plan for the first time since like, the 80’s.

    The strange thing is how redoing the draft system would somehow insnsure competitive balance. Let’s say they do a lottery where over a certain period each time is promised the No. 1 pick. Let’s also say the Sixers have to wait 5 more years for that.

    In the meantime, how to they get competitive? Does Carmelo Anthony/Lebron want to play anywhere besides Miami, NY, LA, CLE or Houston next year? I highly doubt it. The NBA’s bigger issue is desireable market teams having a huge advantage in landing stars. If top level FA’s won’t come to Milawaukee or Toronto etc, those teams have to tank just to land a top level talent that they will eventually lose. In that regard, I would say one bad year is better than 3-4 waiting for your team to get one lottery pick under a revised system.

    Even the Spurse example is flawed. For years they relied on Duncan, who they obtained in the draft by being bad. Boston was the only team flagrantly tanking that year, but the Spurs did a pretty good job of it also. Over the years you have to give them credit for drafting great, but they still needed a lottery pick to get them going again at the end of the David Robinson era. I just don’t think it can be avoided.

  13. 13arod - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    raise ur hand for tanking ✋

  14. 1historian - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    Tanking ONLY works if you have a smart General Manager – one who can evaluate talent. Some teams have been doing it for years and they still stink up the joint because they don’t have an organization worth a darn.

    The 77-78 Celtics – with Red Auerbach at the helm – drafted Larry Bird a year ahead of time and waited for a year – in those days a team could draft a player a year ahead of time. The 78-79 Celtics had a record of 29-53, but help was on the way. Bird joined the team for the 79-80 season and in 2 years (no small thanks to Auerbach’s getting Robert Parish and Kevin McHale in ONE DRAFT in the 1980 draft) – they were NBA champs, and their epic battles with the Lakers during the 80s brought the NBA to the forefront, where it has been ever since.

    It could be argued that Red Auerbach was the greatest GM in the history of pro sports, and he was the one who taught Danny Ainge the ins and outs of the trade. It says here that the Celts will be BACK in 3 years max, probably in the playoffs next year.

    Q: – When was the last time the team with the actual worst record actually got the 1st overall pick?

  15. thekingdave - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    @ryanrockzzz

    The Astros thing is pretty weak, especially the evidence you cite. Apples to oranges. The Astros are solely in this predicament because Drayton McLane tried unsuccessfully to sell the team from 2005-2010, didn’t pay up for draft picks, and kept signing and trading for veterans on the decline to make the team look attractive to potential buyers. Oswalt and Berkman have retired and we’re beginning to decline anyways. Pence had peaked and brought back Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and Domingo Santana from Philly (prospects but a pretty nice haul considering Pence was flipped to SF for less a year later). The Springer thing had nothing to do with tanking and everything to do with holding his rights longer. Pretty standard operating procedure in the MLB, we’ve seen it teams try to do it before with Evan Longoria and others. I don’t agree with it ethically but it’s just how the system’s set up. Finally, there are 12-15 guys on an NBA roster. You expect a #1 overall pick, especially in a draft like this, to have an immediate impact. Not the case in baseball, but you already knew that. It takes a few years in many cases to see a #1 overall MLB pick to make any impact.

    • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      Yeah, but when there’s a star on the horizon (I.e. a Strasburg or Bryce Harper) they can and do make a more immediate impact. Therefore if the player’s there it does make sense to tank in other sports.

  16. bballhistorian - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    During the Rockets local broadcast yesterday, one of the commentators sympanthized with philly fans by saying “when the Rockets traded Moses Malone to Philly in 1982, Philly went on to win it all, while the Rockets only won 14 games the next year. But then we got Ralph Sampson, won 29 games the next year and then got Hakeem Olajuwon after that”.

    Everyone tanks (Bulls before MJ, Spurs before Duncan, Cavs before LeBron, and so on). So dont be mad at Philly for what they are doing. They know this next draft is special (forget what you saw in the ncaa tourney) and they are taking advantage of it. Them and Milwaukee.

  17. 2dmo4 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    They will beat the Pistons on Saturday.

  18. rpearlston - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    The real problem in that city is that the Phillies hae a good chance of matching, if not exceeding, the eventual ’76’s record.

    • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      What do you mean, “that city?”

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