Futility came to a temporary halt for the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers.
What began as an emotional Kobe Bryant hometown bon voyage ended in Philadelphia’s first victory of the season. The Sixers won, 103–91, mercifully snapping the NBA-record skid at 28 and preventing another awful piece of history: the never-before-seen 0–19 start.
Philadelphia trailed by eight at halftime before a strong third-quarter performance resulted in a lead it would never relinquish. The Sixers were paced by Robert Covington, whose 23 points were a game-high. Jahlil Okafor chipped in 12 points and five rebounds, and Jerami Grant added 14 and seven.
As for Bryant, the evanescent icon began the game hot, nailing three of his first four shots, all from three-point range, but struggled down the stretch. He finished 7-of-26 for 20 points. The crowd chanted his name after the game as he dapped up each Sixers player and delivered a final wave to the Philadelphia crowd, but the good vibes were all the Lakers had to hold on to: Los Angeles drops to 2–15 with the loss, a similarly futile mark.
The Sixers, at 1–18, share the record for worst start to a season (18 straight losses) with the 2009–10 New Jersey Nets, who finished 12–70. They can win back-to-back games for the first time since March on Wednesday against the Knicks in New York. The win Tuesday marked the first victory since March 25, 2015.