Philadelphia avoided making the wrong kind of NBA history on Saturday, and it somehow made it look easy.
"It's great to be back on the winning side," Sixers rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams said during a post-game interview with CSN Philadelphia. "We're really excited. We've worked hard every single day and given it our all for a lot of these games, so it's good to come up with a win."
The victory marked Philadelphia's first victory since Jan. 29 and its most lopsided win of the season. The Sixers now remain tied with the 2010-11 Cavaliers for the longest losing streak in league history, as Cleveland also lost 26 straight games following the departure of franchise player LeBron James to Miami during the preceding offseason. Philadelphia matched Cleveland's record with a blowout loss to Houston on Thursday.
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Philadelphia's losing ways were accelerated when GM Sam Hinkie gutted the roster and ramped up a long-term rebuilding effort by trading away Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Remarkably, the Sixers were in such command on Saturday that coach Brett Brown was able to pull his starters with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia hadn't scored a home victory since Jan. 15, and its performance on Saturday was met with a rare standing ovation.
"I want to thank the fans, they came out in full effect," Sixers forward Thaddeus Young said. "They were sticking with us all season long. I salute to the fans. Thank you, guys."
Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 21 points (6-for-14 shooting), seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Young added 21 points (9-for-17 shooting), six rebounds and three assists.
Philadelphia's streak-snapping effort was aided by the ejection of Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, who was tossed with 1:17 remaining in the first quarter. Detroit was led by Greg Monroe, who posted 20 points (on 7-for-16 shooting) and 10 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey added 17 points (on 3-for-11 shooting), four rebounds and four assists.
Here's a quick look at the Sixers' losing streak by the numbers...
- Average margin of defeat: 17.1 points
- Average points conceded: 111.3 points
- Average points scored: 94.3 points
- Number of days between Philadelphia's victories: 59
- Number of defeats by 20+ points: 9
- Number of defeats by 40+ points: 2
- Number of defeats by four points or less: 1
- Philadelphia's offensive efficiency rank: No. 30 out of 30
- Philadelphia defensive efficiency rank: No. 27 out of 30
Here's how the Sixers stack up next to the other longest losing streaks in NBA history...
The Sixers and Cavaliers sit alongside two other major American professional sports teams when it comes to the longest all-time losing streaks.
- National Football League -- 26 games: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1976-1977
- Major League Baseball -- 26 games: Louisville Colonels, 1889 (American Association)
- National Hockey League -- 17 games: Washington Capitals, 1974-1975 and San Jose Sharks, 1992-93
- Major League Soccer -- 12 games: New York Red Bulls, 1999
Brown has confronted the team's struggles head on, admitting this week that the losing streak will have a carry-over effect in the upcoming offseason.
"No free agent is going to want to come to Philadelphia at this stage," Brown said, according to Philly.com. "Why would a good free agent want to come in and be a part of a rebuild?"
Philadelphia improved to 16-57 with the victory. Detroit dropped to 26-47 with their third straight loss.GALLERIES: Memorable losing streaks; NBA’s longest losing streaks