Philadelphia 76ers' 26th Straight Loss Ties All-Time NBA Record

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2014

USA Today

The Philadelphia 76ers are historically bad. With Thursday night's 120-98 loss to the Houston Rockets, the Sixers have tied the NBA record for most consecutive losses.'s Ben Golliver tweeted the news:

That's one of those records teams don't exactly seek out. Philly is now tied with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers, who dropped 26 straight under then-head-coach Byron Scott. The Cavs finally escaped their downturn with an overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Philadelphia will look to do the same this Saturday when they return home to play the Detroit Pistons, a relatively likelier proposition than beating the Rockets.

Should the 76ers lose again, they'd hold the record for the longest losing streak in all of the four major professional sports. As much as the organization may be able to justify a putrid season based on draft hopes, that's a distinction no team wants.

Knowing a little something about unthinkable losing streaks, the Cavs' Anderson Varejao seems to be feeling Philadelphia's pain.

"Nobody wants to have that record. It is what it is. If they get it, it's too bad for them. It's a tough time and it's not easy. I don't even think they think about how many games they've lost," he told The Associated Press' Dan Gelston.

They probably don't want to. However, it would be nice to remember what winning feels like. According to ThatNBALotteryPick, that's something Sixers leading scorer Thaddeus Young couldn't do before Thursday's game:

Maybe that's because Sixers coach Brett Brown isn't making a big deal of the historic mark.

"We don't talk about streaks," he said before Thursday's game, according to "I don't even mention it to them and that's my mission for them. I want them to continue to improve."

Brown has even found the silver lining in these darkest of days for Philadelphia. 

"I can tell you very, very sincerely that this is something that in a twisted way is enjoyable in regards to watching the young guys get better," he said. "Obviously at times it's hard going through it ... (but) I feel like we're heading in the right direction."

Despite the record-tying slide, the 76ers (15-57) still somehow have a better record than the Milwaukee Bucks (14-58). There's no telling how much longer that will last, though.

The Sixers have become the poster child for tanking, especially after dealing Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes at the trade deadline. The franchise is clearly aiming for that No. 1 draft pick in June.

A year ago, Grantland's Brett Koremenos argued that tanking can be counterproductive when it comes to developing in-house talent:

With consistent losing, bad habits emerge — such as a failure to make the extra pass or put all-out effort into positioning on defense. On a team that is getting demolished every night, those things fail to matter. On competitive teams, however, those things represent the fine line between winning and losing important games.

On the other hand, the Charlotte Bobcats—currently the No. 7 seed in the East at 35-37—have turned things around significantly after plummeting toward the bottom of the NBA standings a season ago. Philadelphia's fortunes will no doubt shed further light on the value and pitfalls of tanking.

In the meantime, it'll feel anything but fortunate.