The Philadelphia 76ers fell to the Houston Rockets 120-98 Thursday night for a history making 26th straight loss. The loss put the 76ers into a tie with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers who were struggling after the move of LeBron James to Miami.
When the 76ers face the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, there is a very good chance that they well have the record all to themselves with 27 straight losses. They have already faced the Pistons three times this season, losing each game by an average of 14 points each game. The last loss to Detroit on February 1 was the 76ers second loss of the current streak.
How bad of a team does this 26th straight loss make the Philadelphia 76ers in the history of professional sports? Three teams are tied for the next longest losing streak in the NBA. The 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, 1997-98 Denver Nuggets, and the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats are all tied with 23 consecutive losses.
Of the four major professional leagues the Cavaliers and the 76ers are not alone at the top. Over two consecutive season, the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers also dropped 26 straight games starting in September of 1976 and ending in December of the following year. In July of 1961 the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies started a losing streak that would last 23 games. The Pittsburg Penguins hold the longest losing streak in the NHL at 18 during the 2004 season.
When the 76ers face the Pistons in Philadelphia on Saturday, they may very well claim the title of top losing streak. And it may not end there. After Saturday’s game, there are nine more games on the schedule for the 76ers before the season is over. Monday they face the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. The Hawks beat the the 76ers 125-99 on Jan 31 to start the historic losing streak. With a potential loss to the Pistons on Saturday and a loss to the Hawks this coming Monday, there is a very good possibility that the steak will reach at least 28 games, give the 76ers sole possession of the longest losing streak.
The streak, if it does not end Saturday or Monday, has the best chance to end when the 76ers face the Charlotte Bobcats on April 2. The 76ers defeated the Bobcats 95-92 on Jan 15. That win does not guarantee that the 76ers will stop the streak when they face the Bobcats on Wednesday. The last team the 76ers beat before the current losing streak was a 95-94 win at the Boston Celtics on Jan 29. The Celtics turned around and beat the 76ers a 114-108 for the fourth loss of the current streak. So there is a very good chance that the 76ers could end up extending their steak to 36 straight losses.
There is one positive note for the Philadelphia 76ers during this history making losing streak of 26 straight games. They are not the worst team in the NBA this season. 76ers head coach Brett Brown pointed out after the loss to the Rockets that the Milwaukee Bucks have one less win this season than the 76ers. You could view this as a bright spot in a dismal 76ers season. A dim bright spot since the Bucks did defeat the 76ers by 20 points for the 11th loss of the streak.
Commentary by Carl Auer
The Detroit News