76ers Halt Losing Streak at 26 Games to Avoid NBA Record

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffMarch 30, 2014

From left to right, Philadelphia 76ers' Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims celebrate in the final seconds of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 123-98, breaking a 26-game losing streak. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum

The Philadelphia 76ers were involved in another ugly blowout Saturday, only this time, they came out on the winning side for the first time since Jan. 29.

Needing just one more loss to take sole possession of the record for the longest losing streak in NBA history, the 76ers instead put a 123-98 beatdown on a lifeless Detroit Pistons team to end the 26-game run of futility.

Thanks to Saturday's win, the 2013-14 Sixers and 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers share a place in the NBA record books, with their respective 26-game losing streaks matched only by the 1976 and 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers—also losers of 26 straight—in the modern history of big-four (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) North American professional sports, per USA Today.

Saturday's surprising result aside, the 16-57 Sixers are arguably an even worse team than that 2010-11 Cavs squad, which ultimately finished just 19-63.

Philadelphia played 14 of 26 games at home during its streak, yet it still lost by a whopping 17.1 points per game. In 2010-11, the Cavs played just 11 home contests during their streak and lost by a slightly less embarrassing margin of 13.7 points per game, per ESPN's TrueHoop blog

On the other hand, those Cavs narrowly avoided an unthinkable 37-game losing streak, as their 26-game run was preceded by a 10-game streak, with the only win between a 109-102 overtime victory over the New York Knicks.

The Cavs were actually a decent team at the beginning and end of the season in 2010-11, as they started 7-10 and later won six of their final 12 games. They suffered through a 6-47 stretch in the middle but still finished with 19 wins, avoiding a spot on the list of the 50 worst teams in league history, according to record.

The Sixers also kicked off their dreadful season in respectable fashion, opening with a three-game winning streak and starting 12-21. They've since gone 4-36, a stretch comparable to what the Cavs did (6-47) in the middle of the 2010-11 campaign.

With just nine games remaining on the schedule, most 76ers fans are hoping that their favorite team won't mimic the 2010-11 Cavs' strong finish.

After all, as bad as the Sixers have been this season, the 14-59 Milwaukee Bucks are somehow still on track to have the best odds in June's draft lottery.