Raise your hand if you happened to launch ESPN.com last night and after a quick glance at the scoreboard, you noticed that the Philadelphia 76ers were leading the Milwaukee Bucks late in the fourth quarter?
Raise both hands if you immediately turned to the NBA Channel or found the game on NBA League Pass.
If I would have asked you before the season began that you would be very interested in the outcome of a game between the 76ers and Timberwolves on Dec. 3, you would have thought I was crazy. But if you were like me, you had to watch.
The Sixers entered the game with an 0-17 record and while the Wolves were not much better, they had at least already won four games this season. The Sixers were on the verge of tying the NBA record for the worst start in history.
Had the Sixers lost to the Timberwolves on Wednesday night, they would have tied the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets for starting the season at 0-18. And one more loss after that would have set an entirely new record.
And did I forget to mention that the Sixers did manage to tie the record for most consecutive losses at 26 last season?
But I guess the players in Minnesota (4-13) didn’t want to see Philadelphia suffer any longer. Normally I would use glowing adjectives to describe the 76ers (1-17) performance to help them win the game 85-77. I would use descriptions such as stingy defense or pinpoint shooting or deadly accuracy from three-point range but here’s the reality: Philadelphia shot just 39 percent against the worst defense in the NBA, turned the ball over 19 times and only managed to score nine points in the second quarter — but they still won the game.
Photo source: Instagram
What in the world does that say about the Kevin Love-less Timberwolves?
Now that the losing streak is over, 76ers players can actually relax and celebrate for at least a short period. The monkey is officially off their collective backs.
“For me personally, I think it’s a big relief off my chest,” said Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams said. “And the same is for the rest of the guys now that we got a win.”
Coach Brett Brown praised his team for their effort and patience.
“We feel like this validates the work they’ve put in,” Brown said. “I just have a tremendous amount of respect for the fact that they never once quit on themselves, short-circuited a practice, and they were rewarded tonight.”
For Minnesota, the team shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers. And understandably, they are embarrassed by this loss on their home court.
“That’s what makes it bad,” said Wolves forward Corey Brewer. “They play that bad and we still lose? We have to look at ourselves, man. It’s tough. We can’t lose that game, period.”
For some Sixers, it was their first taste at victory in the NBA, including rookie K.J. McDaniels.
“I was happy because, even though we’re missing a few players, we feel like we’re coming together and learning each other’s games and we’re locking up on defense,” said McDaniels. “Our defense is helping us a lot and the guards rebounding, and everybody rebounding as a group, has been big.”
For Philadelphia 76ers fans, the next question becomes obvious — when will they get victory No. 2?