The 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers are more than bad enough to lose 27 or more games in a row. Fortunately, depending on how one looks at it, the Detroit Pistons had no qualms being the victim of what might end up being the Sixers last win of the season. By a 123-98 final, the Sixers throttled Detroit from the opening tip and looked all the part of a team that did not want to stand alone as the team that lost the most consecutive games in NBA history.
For a team that has allowed us to see everything wrong a basketball team can do over the better part of two months, the 76ers complete-effort domination of a careless Pistons team was a nice breath of fresh air for the fan base. Tony Wroten, upon his return from an ankle injury, provided substantial energy on offense and a secondary threat from the backcourt. Forward Jarvis Varnado protected the rim, turning in six blocks to go with his nine points in just 21 minutes. Thaddeus Young was the steady veteran scoring presence he has been over the losing streak, tying for the team lead with 21 points. Finally, Michael Carter-Williams was his dynamic, creative self as the rookie let loose some frustration in leading his team to a win. Aside from some particularly unsightly airballs from the rookie, Carter-Williams was a menace on both ends of the court. MCW’s four steals and seven rebounds rounded out a very impressive statline, as he tied Young for the team lead in points. At the end of it all, the 76ers had five players score in double figures, they shot 52.2% from the field (57.1% from three), and turned in an incredible 46 assists on field goals made.
As a proponent of the team’s rebuilding efforts, the losing streak did not affect me one way or the other. That said, I think this team will really appreciate the rewards of all of their hard work. What they saw tonight was what happens to NBA teams who decide to check out. For all their detriment in the talent department, few can criticize the effort in how the young team went about their business. Sure, the Bucks will probably move back two games under the 76ers for the worst record in the NBA. That said, no one can continue to bash the Sixers as they stared down the prospect of breaking one of the league’s least desirable records for almost a month now. If it ends up costing the 76ers a better draft pick, so be it. I am all for trying to acquire a franchise player in the draft. There is still something to be said for fostering the type of culture that, when a complete effort is given, reaps benefits for the team. Also, for those who follow the history of the lottery, the last team to put together a 26-game losing streak (the 2010-2011 Cavaliers) finished with the second worst record in the NBA AND won the rights to the 1st overall pick. Maybe history will repeat itself?