Sixers coach Brett Brown (center) has endured a 21-game losing streak. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Sport)
The Philadelphia 76ers set a franchise record by losing their 21st consecutive game when they fell to the Pacers 99-90 in Indiana on Monday.
The 21 straight losses surpassed the 20 consecutive defeats suffered by the Sixers during their infamous 1972-73 campaign, which ended with a 9-73 record that stands as the fewest victories ever recorded during an 82-game season.
"[The losing is] hard because of a competitive thing," Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters afterwards. "[But] worrying about a record, or this and that, we don't live in that world. ... It's the truth, I don't bring that to that locker room once. I don't mention it to them, I don't think about it often, you can't help but be aware of it. And we move on. We're on a different path."
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Philadelphia hasn't won a game since Jan. 29, and they've suffered a series of blowout losses since the trade deadline, when GM Sam Hinkie traded away Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to further plunge the team into its rebuilding mode. Over the course of this 21-game losing streak, Philadelphia has lost by an average of 18.1 points, with each loss coming by five points or more.
Since the start of their losing streak, Philadelphia has ranked No. 30 in offensive efficiency and No. 29 in defensive efficiency.
"Any win that we have going forward would be considered an upset," Brown said on Saturday, according to CSNPhilly.com. "This is not slit-your-wrist time. This is not even close to that. This is about building a program and understanding the short-term pain for a lot of long-term gain. ... To truly rebuild and grow something is going to take three to five years. That is just the way it goes."
By the end of the 2013-14 regular season, the Sixers will have the chance to make NBA history by losing more games than any other team. The 2010-11 Cavaliers set the all-time record with 26 straight losses; the Sixers will have the opportunity to both tie and break that mark this month.
Longest losing streaks in NBA history
- 26 games | 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers
- 24 games | 1981-82 & 1982-83 Cleveland Cavaliers
- 23 games | 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies
- 23 games | 1997-98 Denver Nuggets
- 23 games | 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats
- 21 games | 1979-80 & 1980-81 Detroit Pistons
- 21 games | 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers
Should Philadelphia lose out the balance of their regular season schedule, which is a distinct possibility, they would finish with an almost unthinkable 36-game losing streak.
The Sixers hold the league's second-worst record at 15-52. Milwaukee has the league's worst mark at 13-54.