The streak is dead.
After 26 consecutive losses, the Philadelphia 76ers pulled out of their nose dive for one night, beating the Detroit Pistons to avoid setting a new futility record.
Between Jan. 30 and Saturday, the Sixers lost 26 games in a row, matching the mark set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The Utah Jazz, a team that has seen plenty of its own struggles, contributed two of those Philadelphia defeats.
"The team you’re playing against don’t want to be the team that allows you to break the streak," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said.
A high draft pick will await both teams in the offseason, but Corbin said he worries about the long-term implications of extended losing streaks.
"It’s a difficult thing," he said. "People don’t understand, if you’re a competitor, the impact that losing consistently has on you and the mindset you have to have to get out of it. It wears on you."
Corbin has been through tough stretches, first as a player and now a coach, and he believes prolonged losing - and particularly the idea of "tanking" - can have disastrous implications.
"I think it’s a dangerous thing," he said. "You talk about playing to lose games. I think it’s difficult to come out of it. People think you just get through it and move on to the next year."
He added, "I think it can carry over to the guys. … I think losing can get in guys’ DNA and it’s hard to get out of young guys."
Back to the beginning
For rookie point guard Trey Burke, Friday’s game in New Orleans marked a return to the place where he made his NBA debut on Nov. 20.
"I’ve learned a lot since that point," Burke said. Then he added, "It seems like we were just here yesterday. That’s just how fast the season goes."
It was also a meeting with Pelicans point guard Austin Rivers, a player Burke has watched come up through the ranks. As a fifth-grader, Burke attended a camp in California and said he used the accolades Rivers received to motivate him.
"It was a little mini-all-American type camp and I remember making the all-star game," he said. "Around that time, that’s when I started getting really serious about it. I was playing football at the time too and I didn’t really know which sport I liked more. I think that’s when I started to realize basketball was the sport I was going to try to pursue."
Shooting guard Alec Burks has missed four straight games with a sprained left ankle. But he appears to be making progress. Burks went through practice Saturday and will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s matinee matchup in Oklahoma City.
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