I'm just going to go ahead and recycle the same lede I've been using since late January—the Philadelphia 76ers lost.
With a 120-98 defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on Thursday night, the Sixers tied the NBA record for consecutive losses with 26, a deflating streak that dates all the way back to Jan. 31.
ESPN Stats & Info confirmed their unfortunate new place in the record books:
76ers: lost 26 straight games, tied with 2010-11 Cavaliers for longest single-season losing streak in NBA history— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 28, 2014
Unfortunately for The City of Brotherly Love, it's a record that isn't only contained to the NBA. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it extends to the four major North American sports:
A 26th straight loss for 76ers tonight would tie all-time record for consecutive losses in 4 major pro sports leagues in North America.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2014
Jose3030 puts some other depressing numbers on the Sixers' season, as well as offering up a potential new logo:
76ers streaks: Lost 26, Lost 29 of 30, Lost 32 of 34, Lost 36 of 39, Lost 38 of 45 pic.twitter.com/CnBcId28SH— 3030 (@jose3030) March 28, 2014
Speaking of tanks, there is good news here. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-105, on Thursday night, meaning the Sixers were able to "gain" a game in the race for the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery.
NBA on ESPN gave an updated look at the standings, while NBC Los Angeles' Shahan Ahmed put it simply:
Losers tonight: Lakers, Bucks Winners: 76ers.— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) March 28, 2014
If you've been paying attention, Thursday's result is probably one of the least surprising outcomes you've ever witnessed. In fact, Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight's statistical models gave Philly a whopping four percent chance of winning:
The Sixers fought hard for a while. They trailed by just seven points after one quarter thanks to Casper Ware's half-court buzzer-beater, and they were within two midway through the second period.
But the Rockets were able to do whatever they wanted on offense, and as the team's Twitter feed pointed out, James Harden notched a triple-double in a mere 31 minutes:
Of course, there were some positive takeaways. James Anderson poured in 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting, and Henry Sims, who has played well recently, had 18 points and showed maximum effort despite the difficult situation:
Amount of quit in Henry Sims status update: Still zero— Andrew Unterberger (@AUgetoffmygold) March 28, 2014
With some encouraging individual performances, there is some hope the Sixers won't soon own this record all by themselves. As Jose3030 shows us, Philly next hosts the Detroit Pistons, who are mostly out of playoff contention and 2-8 in their last 10:
SportsPickle.com's D.J. Gallo, on the other hand, is offering up his best sarcastic support:
@SportsCenter Records are made to be broken. Go Sixers! We believe in you!— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) March 28, 2014
The Sixers go for the record on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET in what should be a thrilling display of mediocre basketball.