Five Takeaways from NBA Tuesday: Sixers set new record for futility

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Is all your Christmas shopping done? Me neither. So I fully understand if you were hitting the shops rather than watching NBA games on Tuesday night, but we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know from a Tuesday night around the Association.

1) Philadelphia sets record for worst 30 game start in NBA history. The 76ers have deflected some of the heat and criticism of their play this season — and the rebuild process that has them worse in the third year of the rebuild than the first — by hiring Jerry Colangelo to make decisions (ones such as putting Mike D’Antoni on the bench or interviewing veterans to help the locker room be more professional). But all that is for optics in the short-term, they don’t want to get too good too fast. The Sixers have a lot of picks coming — they likely have three, maybe four first rounders this June, depending on the lottery ping-pong balls — and they don’t want to start suddenly winning a lot of games and hurting their lottery odds. Not to fear.

With their 104-90 loss to Memphis on Tuesday, the Sixers are 1-29 on the season, the worst 30-game start in NBA history. This far into the season, every team had won two games. Every other team had won three by 46 games, so the Sixers have some work to do before setting a new milestone.

2) Kobe Bryant decides it should be throwback Tuesday, drops 31 on Dallas in Lakers win. Bryant had missed the previous Lakers’ game due to a shoulder injury and was considered a game-time decision on Tuesday, but you wouldn’t have known it watching him. Bryant was living in the midrange but knocking it down from the left side of the floor, he attacked and got to the line 11 times, he hit 9-of-16 contested shots, and seemingly every time the Lakers needed a bucket he was there. Los Angeles won 111-107 against Denver.

3) Coach Rick Carlisle rips Mavericks after they lost to the Raptors. Dallas has been one of the surprise teams of the NBA season, with Dirk Nowitzki finding the fountain of youth and the team around him playing better than expected. Yet they are still basically a .500 team (15-13), and Carlisle didn’t like the mental vacation the team took against the Raptors up in Toronto and let his team have it postgame. From James Herbert of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball:

“We got our asses kicked at the beginning of the game,” Carlisle said. “We knew they were going to come out hard. They did the exact same thing in Dallas. They’re coming off a tough loss. They’re very aggressive by nature. We really knew it, we talked a lot about it and we didn’t handle it well. And it was, frankly, it was embarrassing.”

A reporter asked Carlisle if he was unhappy with the starters, and Carlisle essentially threatened to have them traded.

“Do I look happy?” he said. “I mean, would you be happy? Look, it was a 24-minute, take-you-to-the-beach, kick-your-butt, kick-sand-in-your-face type deal. And then, hey, we come in at halftime and we’re finally pissed, I get on their case and we decide to bust our ass in the third quarter. And we played a hell of a third quarter. But, look, if it’s going to be like that, these guys aren’t going to be Mavericks very long. I can promise you that.”

We’ll see if the message gets through and how Dallas plays in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

4) Apparently it was highlight dunk night in Miami. The Heat put on a show with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Justise Winslow all throwing down big dunks on the Pistons.

5) Miami put up the highlights, Detroit will take the win. Early on this game had the look and feel of a Miami Heat game of a few seasons ago. Cristiano Ronaldo was sitting courtside, the Heat raced out to a quick 18-point lead, and the Heat players were filling the highlight reels (see above).

But Detroit came back from that deficit with some big second quarter runs, got 18 points out of Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond had his league-leading 25th double-double, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had seven points in the fourth quarter, and the Pistons got the victory. That’s a quality road win for Detroit.