For nearly two full months, the Philadelphia 76ers were the ultimate embodiment of NBA ineptitude, failing in almost every aspect of the game. They tied the league's all-time worst losing streak at 26, going winless since Jan. 29.
And then the floodgates opened in a colossal victory to avoid breaking that infamous mark.
In front of their home fans, Philly hammered the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, 123-98, to record their first win in what seems like a decade.
The Sixers have gotten all too comfortable giving up boatloads of points in short spans of time, but against the woeful Pistons they flipped the script and dropped 70 points in the first half.
Philly's 70 first-half points are the most in any half this season. #TogetherWeBuild— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) March 30, 2014
Early in the contest, Detroit star guard Brandon Jennings was tossed after two quick technicals for arguing with the officials. It certainly helped Philadelphia's cause, but Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland jokingly reminded us that it hurts the Sixers' chances of earning better lottery positioning:
Brandon Jennings ejected for the Pistons. That's a blow for the Sixers— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) March 30, 2014
As the game unfolded, Philly steamrolled the Pistons in every facet, as its 29 assists enabled it to score 60 points in the paint and drain 12 triples. When the deficit mounted, things got extremely embarrassing for John Loyer's crew:
Dumars' $92 million summer (Smith, Jennings, Billups, Bynum & Datome) are combined 5-24 as DET trails PHI by 23— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 30, 2014
Philadelphia 100, Detroit 70. The Pistons are 30 points worse than a team that has lost 26 games in a row.— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 30, 2014
The Sixers have conveniently floundered for most of the year, putting them in prime position for a high draft pick in June. Even many of the fans have grown comfortable with this tanking trend, agreeing to wait out a humiliating season in order to bounce back toward the top.
Well, at least for a night, Brett Brown's boys were sick of being kicked around. They didn't want to tumble further than the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers, who set the record of 26 defeats.
clearly, the sixers were tired of being humble.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) March 30, 2014
Philadelphia did a great job of avoiding historic disappointment Saturday night. Before the game, Brown talked about the team's positive future, and his team followed suit by winning and lending a small glimpse of exciting things to come.
Brown: "We have a plan... I love coaching these guys, and I see a city where special things can happen [if/when we turn this around]."— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) March 29, 2014
Thrashing the Pistons was a triumphant moment, for sure. But for now, it's back to tank mode, right?