Philadelphia center Henry Sims (35) drives to the net as Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) defends during the 4th quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers broke a 26-game losing streak with a 123-98 win late Saturday. (Reuters)
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers turned down their dubious date with destiny late Saturday night, beating the Detroit Pistons 123-98 to end an NBA-record-tying 26-game losing streak.
Guard Michael Carter-Williams and forward Thaddeus Young each scored 21 points and center Henry Sims added 16 for the 76ers (16-57), who built leads of 19 at halftime and 30 after three quarters in cruising to their first victory since Jan. 29.
In all, five players cracked double figures for Philadelphia, which shot 52.2 percent and limited Detroit to 38.8 percent shooting while forcing 18 turnovers. They also out-rebounded the Pistons 46-44 after getting hammered on the boards in three losses to Detroit earlier this season.
“I’m real happy for the players, and I’m real happy for the fans,” coach Brett Brown said. “I thought there was an extra sense of urgency to follow through with a simple game plan.”
A defeat Saturday would have not only allowed the 76ers to break the league record they now share with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers, it would have also established a mark for futility in the four major American sports. The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers also dropped 26 in a row in 1976-77.
Finally, the 76ers ended their home losing streak at 18. The NBA record is 19 by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s been real tough losing,” Carter-Williams said. “I learned a lot of good things (during the streak) — that I’ll never give up on my team, and my teammates will never give up on me. … We just keep fighting. Today it showed.”
Center/forward Greg Monroe collected 20 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit (26-47), which has lost three straight, eight of nine and 18 of 22. Guard Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points, and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16.
“There was no effort tonight,” Monroe said. “Absolutely no effort.”
The Pistons had also given a “lackluster” effort in Friday’s loss to Miami, in the estimation of coach John Loyer. Following it up the way they did Saturday, he said, was “not acceptable.”
“We’ve played some good basketball against some very good people, so we’re capable,” Loyer said. “We just haven’t shown that in two straight nights, and we have to get back to that.”
From the outset the 76ers were the aggressor, turning misses and turnovers by the Pistons into fast-break opportunities. They took the lead for good 4:41 into the game at 10-8, and never looked back.
Carter-Williams set the tone with five points and two assists in the first seven minutes. By the end of the opening quarter he had 11 points and Philadelphia owned a 33-23 advantage.
“I think we came out with fire, like we were trying to do in a lot of other games,” Carter-Williams said. “We didn’t change anything.”
Detroit was twice within eight in the second quarter, and the gap was 61-51 before the 76ers scored the first half’s last nine points.
It is the most points the 76ers scored in any half this season. Carter-Williams had 17 while Young added 12.
Monroe and Stuckey had 10 each for Detroit.
Philadelphia continued to pour it on in the third quarter, courtesy of one highlight-worthy play after another. Early on, Sims converted Young’s feed into a layup, and backup center Jarvis Varnado twice dunked during an 8-0 spree later in the period, each time off feeds from reserve guard Tony Wroten.
The lead, which was as much as 32 in the quarter, was 98-68 by the time it ended.
It was so one-sided that Brown pulled his starters with 5:13 left. The crowd gave the 76ers a standing ovation in the closing seconds, and Carter-Williams acknowledged that there was “some emotion” in the locker room afterward.
“It’s a great thing,” he said, “to be on the winning side.”