Rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 21 points as the Philadelphia 76ers avoided their National Basketball Association-record 27th straight defeat with a 123-98 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Thaddeus Young added 21 points at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as the 76ers offense exploded for its highest offensive production since Dec. 3. They entered the game having lost 26 straight since they beat the Boston Celtics 95-94 on Jan. 29.
Last night’s win means Philadelphia tied the mark for the longest losing streak in NBA history with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The losing run was also tied for the longest in the four major North American sports. The National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight games from September 1976 through December 1977, according to Stats LLC.
Since the win over Boston, Philadelphia has lost 19 games by double figures, including back-to-back defeats of 45 and 43 points in February. Over that span the San Antonio Spurs were an NBA-best 22-3.
It is just the third double-digit wins for the 76ers, who beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 15 on Nov. 8 and the Portland Trail Blazers by 12 on Jan. 4. Philadelphia improved to 16-57 this season, while the Pistons fell to 26-47.
Philadelphia has two more wins than the Milwaukee Bucks, who are last in the NBA with a 14-59 mark. The team with the fewest wins has the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, when University of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is projected by ESPN as the top prospect.
Before last night’s game, Philadelphia had allowed a league-high 110.2 points per game this season. One bright spot has been the play of Carter-Williams, 22, who averaged 14.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game before Detroit’s visit.
The 76ers opened the season with 9,999-1 odds to capture the league title and the lowest expected win total in the NBA -- 16.5 according to The Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book. The Charlotte Bobcats in 2012 set a record for the worst winning percentage in NBA history, going 7-59 (.106 percent) in a lockout-shortened season. The most losses in an 82-game season is 73, by the 76ers in 1973.
Philadelphia’s opening-day roster had four rookies and nine players who had been in the league for two seasons or fewer.
The team won its first three games of the season, including an Oct. 30 victory over the defending-champion Miami Heat.