The Philadelphia 76ers had lost for two straight months before March 29. Therefore, the Sixers would inevitablly lose one more time to set the all-time NBA record with 27 straight defeats, or so it looked. But the Sixers proved against the Detroit Pistons that even when they win, they still lose -- if only in setting records all by themselves.
The Sixers stayed tied for the longest losing streak of all time by being on the right side of a blowout for once. Their 123-98 win over the Pistons was nearly as stunning as most of their losses, as it turned out. Philadelphia couldn't beat sub .500 teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings during the skid, yet the Pistons were just pathetic enough for them.
Detroit had lost 10 of its previous 12 games before coming to Philadelphia, but no one could have seen this level of awfulness coming. However, it came right from the start, as the Sixers jumped out to an early double digit lead and never looked back. Given how the last two months had gone, a Pistons run and a come-from-ahead loss looked like the ideal way for the Sixers to clinch the record, but it never came.
Philadelphia was never seriously challenged, much like it never challenged in so many of its losses. In fact, the Sixers led by as many as 32 points in the second half, as this game could have turned out like their back-to-back 40+ point losses in Los Angeles and Golden State in early February. Still, the Sixers were merciful enough to keep the margin of victory to 25 points, perhaps if only for pity's sake.
It took 26 straight losses for Philadelphia to equal the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA's worst record. But thanks to this victory and two straight Bucks losses in recent days, Milwaukee is two games ahead for last place in the league. Not only did the Sixers lose their chance at making NBA history by themselves, they made it easier for the Bucks to get the most balls in the lottery again.
Will the Sixers ever have a win that isn't really a loss again? It certainly won't come this season, and maybe not even in the next either. But seeing how historically inexperienced Philadelphia became at winning, it had to start somewhere.