Philadelphia dodge losing record

‘WITH FIRE’::With 26 losses, the 76ers had already matched the longest slump of any major North American sports team, but beat the Pistons, who have lost 18 of 22

AFP, PHILADELPHIA

Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - Page 18

The Philadelphia 76ers avoided a record-setting 27th straight NBA loss with a dominating 123-98 home victory over the struggling Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Thaddeus Young finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists for the 76ers, who came into the contest having lost 18 straight at home and 26 overall, equaling the longest losing streak in league history.

“I am happy for the players and I am happy for the fans,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I am real happy for the players.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA record with 26 straight losses in 2010-2011.

The Sixers’ 26 losses also matched the record for the longest losing skid of any major North American professional sports team. The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight contests from Sept. 12, 1976 to Dec. 4, 1977.

“Just happy to get a win,” said Young, Philadelphia’s first since they beat the Boston Celtics on Jan. 29. “I don’t think we were thinking about the streak. We just wanted to go out there and win a basketball game.”

Michael Carter-Williams helped pace the attack in front of the crowd of 17,438 by scoring 21 points for the 76ers, who shot 52 percent from the field. Philadelphia also ended their franchise-record 18-game losing home streak at the Wells Fargo Center arena.

Carter-Williams said the key was sharing the ball.

“We tried to concentrate on every single possession,” said Carter-Williams, who also had seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. “Play smart and just do the right things and use each other. We came out with fire.”

Henry Sims tallied 16 points with seven rebounds and Hollis Thompson scored 14 points on four-of-four shooting from beyond the arc in the win.

The Sixers management has been insisting all along they are in a rebuilding mode.

At the trade deadline, they dumped players by sending Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen packing.

Some Philadelphia fans have accused them of deliberately losing matches this season to get a prime pick in the entry draft.

“We chose a path and some may agree with it and some may not. We are not claiming it to be the correct way to do it. We don’t want to blink,” Brown said.

Brown said he is relieved that the team did not set the record for futility.

“It is a good thing the stigma is not attached to their names,” Brown said.

Greg Monroe finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost 18 of their past 22 games.

Rodney Stuckey had 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 in the loss.

CLIPPERS 118, ROCKETS 107

In Houston, Chris Paul had 30 points and 12 assists, while Jamal Crawford added 22 points as Los Angeles clinched their franchise-record third straight playoff appearance by stopping Houston’s five-game winning streak.

Houston was without injured starters Dwight Howard and Pat Beverley.

It was not all good for Los Angeles. Blake Griffin left in the first quarter with back spasms and didn’t return, and Glen Davis missed the second half for disciplinary reasons after throwing a temper tantrum in the second quarter.

James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points, and Chandler Parsons had 28. DeAndre Jordan added 20 points with 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who are third in the Western Conference.

SPURS 96, PELICANS 80

In San Antonio, Texas, Marco Belinelli scored 18 points and San Antonio never trailed after their opening possession to extend their winning streak to 17 games with the win over New Orleans.

Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili scored 15 points each, Patty Mills added 13 and Tim Duncan had 12 points and eight rebounds.

San Antonio (57-16) extended their lead to 3.5 games over Oklahoma City (53-19) for the league’s best record.

Reserve guard Brian Roberts had 18 points to lead New Orleans (32-41), who had their five-game winning streak snapped. Austin Rivers added 16 points, Tyreke Evans had 11 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had eight points and 10 rebounds.

New Orleans was without Anthony Davis, its leading scorer and rebounder. Davis is day-to-day after injuring his left ankle four minutes into the Pelicans’ victory over Utah on Friday night.

WIZARDS 101, HAWKS 97

In Washington, John Wall scored 25 points, while Drew Gooden had 16 as Washington inched closer to their first playoff spot since 2008 with a win over free-falling Atlanta.

Washington entered the game needing a win and a loss by the New York Knicks yesterday to make the playoffs.

Wall scored 13 points in the last 7:16 of the third quarter and the Wizards finally escaped the pesky Hawks, who have lost six straight and 20 of 26.

Jeff Teague scored 19 points and Paul Millsap 17 for Atlanta.

Washington followed up a 13-point win over Eastern Conference leader Indiana on Friday with a win over the Hawks, who lead the Knicks by 1.5 games for the final playoff berth in the East.

MAVERICKS 103, KINGS 100

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points as Dallas avoided a potentially serious blow to their playoff hopes by rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Sacramento.

The Mavericks blew a 17-point lead and trailed by five in the fourth quarter, before recovering for their 20th straight regular-season win at home against Sacramento, the longest against any opponent in franchise history.

Dallas (44-30) is in a virtual tie with Memphis (43-29) for eighth place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Phoenix. The Mavericks have eight games left and finish the regular season at the Grizzlies.

Rudy Gay scored 30 for the Kings.

Monta Ellis had 17 points and six assists, while Sam Dalembert added 15 as Dallas avoided a second loss to a West also-ran on a franchise-record eight-game home stand that ends tomorrow night against Golden State.

HEAT 88, BUCKS 67

In Milwaukee, Chris Bosh scored 14 points, LeBron James had 13 as short-handed Miami wrapped up their three-game trip through the Midwest with a dominant victory over Milwaukee.

James Jones added 10 for Miami in place of star guard Dwyane Wade, sidelined a second straight game with a sore hamstring. The Heat also played without Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers.

It did not matter against the team with the NBA’s worst record.

The Heat led 46-29 at halftime and held the Bucks to a season low for points in a half and in a game.

John Henson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee.