When the final buzzer sounded, the 76ers players were jumping up and down like they had won a playoff game.
In essence, they had.
The Sixers snapped one of the most maddening streaks in franchise history with a 123-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
As a result, the Sixers didn’t set a dubious mark for the most consecutive losses in NBA history. They’re now tied with the 2010-11 post-LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers with 26 straight losses.
It’s been a long time since the Sixers celebrated a victory – Jan. 29, to be exact, following a 95-94 victory at Boston. The winning basket in that game came from Evan Turner, who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers.
The last home victory came Jan. 15 against the Charlotte Bobcats. Lost in the overall skid was the fact that the Sixers had dropped 18 straight home games, just one shy of tying the all-time mark of 19, set by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.
On any given night, anything can happen.
The Sixers proved that notion to be true against the Pistons.
“We come into every game thinking we’re going to win,” said Sixers guard Tony Wroten. “We don’t expect to lose. This thing happened and we’ve had to deal it, but we haven’t talked about. We just go to practice every day, trying to get better.”
Since the day he was hired, coach Brett Brown has talked about the long term. He’s in it for the long haul and has refused to get down during these difficult times.
“Our judgment day won’t be today, and it won’t be tomorrow,” Brown said. “We’re on a three- to five-year plan. Obviously we want to win. We want to win every time we come on the floor. I coach to win. Our players play to win. We’re not deflecting any of that responsibility, but to suggest anything deeper or more sinister where the program is now in a tailspin is just not right. I think that behind the scenes and the direction that we’re taking, the program is truly on track. I’m proud of what we’ve done off the floor.”
Thaddeus Young has been to the playoffs and is used to winning. He’s never experienced anything this frustrating.
For the longest-tenured member of the Sixers, this was a sense of relief.
“I’m happy for all the guys in this locker room,” Young said. “Everyone has put in the work. It’s been a tough season. It is what it is and we’ve just had to work through it. It is nice, however, to be rewarded with a win for all that hard work.”