PBT’s Wednesday Night Winners/Losers: Philly is winless no more


Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while stealing an ambulance so you could go to a strip club

source:  Philadelphia 76ers. It wasn’t pretty. Nobody with the Sixers cares. This is a team that was on the verge of tying the NBA all-time consecutive losses to start a season record but they got a repreive and picked up a win, 85-77, knocking off a depleted Minnesota team. The Sixers did it despite shooting just 39 percent because Minnesota’s offense was worse, shooting just 35.7 percent (and Minny was 3-of-17 from three). The Sixers scored just nine points in the entire second quarter. The Sixers started 1-of-20 from three (but hit four in a row late). None of that was because of great defense, either. This entire game lived down to expectations. Yet Michael Carter-Williams stepped up with a near triple-double (20 points , 9 rebounds, 9 assists, who cares if it took him 20 shots to get there) and off the bench Robert Covington had 17 points (including three fourth quarter threes). It’s a win. Philadelphia will take it.

source:  Referees in Sixers/Timberwolves. Are you kidding me? They had to replay the first 16 seconds of the Sixers/Timberwolves game because the two teams were shooting at the wrong baskets. Which pretty much summed up this entire game. But while it’s easy to laugh and say “it figures, it’s the Sixers/Wolves” this isn’t on the teams, it’s on the referees for not noticing and fixing it before. They are the cops out there and they were caught thinking about donuts, not doing their job.

source:  Kyle Lowry. The Raptors’ star point guard looked up, saw two Utah rookies had the assignment to cover him, and started to drool. With no DeMar DeRozan for another month or so Toronto needs more nights like this, where Lowry looks to get himself going first. He finished with 39 points (a career high) on 13-of-22 shooting. He got whatever shot he wanted and hit most of them.

source:  Houston Rockets. No Dwight Howard. Or Patrick Beverley. Or Terrence Jones. Or Isaiah Canaan. Yet the Houston Rockets handed the Grizzlies just their third defeat of the season. They did it by getting out and running on Memphis, a team that wants to slow it down and make every game the pace of a playoff game. This game was played at 99 possessions, which is up in Denver Nuggets territory and faster than either team likes to play. The Rockets had 25 fast break points on the night and their pressure wouldn’t let the Grizzlies’ defense get set, and at that pace Memphis had 20 turnovers. Also a good night from Donatas Motiejunas with 15 points and 7 boards, but more importantly really strong defense in the paint as he and the Rockets held Marc Gasol in check (8 points). Houston had 23 offensive rebounds on the night, also.

source:  Monta Ellis. It’s not exactly what you’d call an efficient night for Ellis, who had 23 points but needed 26 shots to get there. Didn’t matter, he got away with it. Just like he got away with a travel on the last shot — no call then he got the difficult shot to fall. Dallas wins.

76ers lose (chance to break NBA record for losses to start season)


The 76ers looked relieved as they hugged and high-fived at center court, a giant weight removed from their shoulders.

For the first time all season, Philadelphia did something every other team has done at least thrice already – win.

The 76ers conquered the fallible Timberwolves, 85-77, Wednesday – halting their losing streak at 17 games and narrowly avoiding matching the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets with the worst start to an NBA season.

  • 2009-10 New Jersey Nets, 0-18
  • 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, 0-17
  • 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, 0-17
  • 1988-89 Miami Heat, 0-17
  • 1994-95 Los Angeles Clippers, 0-16
  • 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, 0-15
  • 1970-71 Cleveland Cavaliers, 0-15
  • 1949-50 Denver Nuggets, 0-15

Some Philadelphia players attempted to stifle their joy as others sported giant grins, and it seemed everyone eventually realized it was OK to celebrate. The 76ers are still the NBA’s laughing stock, and they’re no danger of losing the league’s worst record – or as they might put it, No. 1 lottery seed. But after such a grueling start – and knowing how difficult the task remains – Philadelphia deserves to soak in this one in.

“We can compete in this league,” said Michael Carter-Williams, who had 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. “A lot of people doubt us, and I know our record, that stands for it. But we’ve just got to keep working and keep fighting.”

This win didn’t come easy.

The 76ers overcame hilarity (starting the game attacking the wrong basket as the Timberwolves defended it) and errors (blowing a 12-point lead).

They shot 39 percent from the field, 21 percent from beyond the arc and 64 percent from the free-throw line. The NBA’s worst-shooting teams shoot 41, 30 and 67 percent from those areas.

And, you guessed it, Philadelphia holds the bottom mark for two of those categories. Only the hapless Pistons keep the 76ers from the bottom-ranked field-goal percentage.

They had more turnovers (18) than assists (15). Even the NBA’s most careless team – yup, Philadelphia again – has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.

These poor numbers are a product of an extremely flawed team, one that began the season 0-17 for a reason.

The 76ers are building toward something greater. Before they can ever reach that point, the critics will return as Philadelphia chases the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (7-59) for the season-long record for futility. The 76ers are hardly out of the woods, and that realization will set in soon enough.

But they’re also in the win column – and tonight, that’s all that matters.

76ers and Timberwolves must re-start game after shooting at wrong baskets


The 76ers are bad – 0-17 and one loss from tying the NBA record for consecutive losses to begin a season.

The Timberwolves aren’t nearly as awful, but they’re still the Western Conference’s worst team at 4-12.

That’s what made tonight’s Philadelphia-Minnesota game so intriguing. With history on the line, the 76ers finally found an opponent maybe even they could beat.

Thankfully, the contest has lived up to expectations for hilarity.

The teams began the game going the wrong direction!

Henry Sims drew a foul and was headed to the free-throw line before officials realized the error (hat tip: Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press). The game re-tipped, and Philadelphia is trying again to earn its first win.

This is so amazing. It’s probably my favorite moment of the season. Seriously.

To set the bar so low and still crawl under it is one special feat.

Spurs’ Marco Belinelli posterizes Henry Sims. You read that right. (VIDEO)


Things I never thought I’d type include:

That was a huge dunk by Marco Belinelli.

But such is life against the Sixers — everyone can make big plays. The Spurs’ Belinelli is thought of as a three point shooter and little else, but he can put the ball on the floor. Although usually just to create enough space for another jumper. Not this time — he has a clear pass to the basket and takes it.

And no Henry Sims is going to stop him.

When might Philadelphia finally win a game? A look at the schedule.


The Philadelphia 76ers’ defense is bad. Their offense is potentially historically bad (although they have improved a little lately they are still far and away the worst in the NBA and just ahead of worst-ever pace). We all know this is part of management and GM Sam Hinkie’s master plan — stockpile draft picks, play the young guys like Michael Carter-Williams, and as a byproduct be so bad as to get the chance to draft top talent. (And they did, Joel Embiid could be special, but he is also out for the season.)

That doesn’t make them any easier to watch.

The Philadelphia 76ers are just a dumpster fire. An 0-17 dumpster fire. Just two more losses from “besting” the 2009 New Jersey Nets, which lost 18 games to start the season, the NBA record for early season futility.

Monday night the Sixers picked up a moral victory by battling from 24 back to make it interesting against the Spurs in the final minutes. Michael Carter-Williams had 24 points and the Sixers covered the covered the 11-point spread but fell 109-103 to a Spurs team resting Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. You know what you get for a moral victory in the NBA? Exactly. You get 0-17.

When might the Sixers get that elusive first win? Let’s take a look at the schedule.

• Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Minnesota Timberwolves. This could be the Sixers best chance because the Timberwolves are without Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic, so they are leaning heavily on youth such as Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Of course, they still have guys like Thaddeus Young and Mo Williams, they have guys that can put up points, but they have struggled and lost 9-of-11, the most recent win needing a late Laker collapse to make happen.

Lose this game and the Sixers tie the NBA record for most losses to start a season. They should be desperate. Minnesota is still more talented and at home, but we’ll call this one a coin toss.

• Friday, Dec. 5, Oklahoma City Thunder. A week ago this looked much better, but with Russell Westbrook back (and Kevin Durant potentially back, he’s been practicing) this team is playing much better. Plus the Thunder have a sense of desperation about them, they know they have to win better than two-thirds of their games the rest of the way to even have a shot at the eight seed in the West. They are not going to let an easy win slip by them. Sixers have a five percent chance here.

• Saturday, Dec. 6, at Detroit Pistons. Another winnable game for the Sixers as the Pistons have good talent on the roster — Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings — but none of it fits together well. Stan Van Gundy has a lot of work to clean up Joe Dumars’ mess. The Pistons have one of the worst offenses in the NBA, if the Sixers can just get some points on the board they have a chance. That said, it’s the second night of a back-to-back on the road for Philly, so let’s say the Sixers have just a 35 percent chance in this one.

• Wednesday, Dec. 10, at Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have won seven of their last 10 and they have Jeff Teague playing at a near All-Star level at the point, not to mention Al Horford in the paint. Atlanta is just the better team and the Sixers have maybe a five percent chance in this one.

• Friday, Dec. 12, at Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have been up and down this season, with a defense that has been pretty average but an offense that is bottom 10. Still, the Nets have good talent on that side of the ball — Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez (if he’s healthy). I can’t imagine Kevin Garnett letting the Nets lose to the Sixers, but this is an up and down team and things happen. We’ll give the Sixers a 15 percent chance to get this win.

• Saturday, Dec. 13, Memphis Grizzlies. Philadelphia has no shot here. None. Zero.

• At this point if the Sixers are still winless at 0-23 it’s going to be a massive national story to see if they can set another futility record (remember they lost 26 straight last season tying the 2010-11 Cavaliers). But the Sixers also would have three winnable games as they got desperate: Boston, Charlotte and Orlando. All three lottery bound teams struggling to start the season. The Sixers would not be favorites in any of those games — good chance they are not a favorite all season — but they’ll have a chance.

Which is to say, they are not going to get to 26 and set an NBA record to start the season. Probably. But that Magic game on Dec. 21 starts a seven game road trip, so the Sixers can just start a new streak.