CT – Former Boomers coach Brett Brown already knows about unwelcome NBA records but he narrowly avoided another big one when his Philadelphia 76ers finally cracked a win.
The 76ers avoided matching the worst start in NBA history by posting their first victory of the season, beating the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves 85-77 in Minneapolis on Wednesday night.
Brown’s team had lost 17 straight games going into the match and, while he insisted he didn’t care about the possibility of tying the New Jersey Nets’ record of 18 straight to start a season, he could hardly ignore it as the media gathered.
ESPN had a crew at the game and was scheduled to follow the Sixers until they get their first win. The network has been poking fun at the franchise on a daily basis.
But the 76ers got their breakthrough as point guard Michael Carter-Williams had game highs of 20 points and nine assists and Robert Covington added 17 points off the bench.
The task was made a bit easier because Minnesota were without three injured starters in point guard Ricky Rubio, shooting guard Kevin Martin and centre Nikola Pekovic.
It’s Brown’s second full season at the helm, tasked to rebuild the team after his long stint as an assistant with the super-successful San Antonio Spurs.
He faced a similar situation late last season when his Sixers, the youngest team in the league, lost 26 games in a row, tying the record for the longest NBA losing streak.
Brown insisted the Sixers were not fazed by the mounting losses occurring again this season.
“Nobody cares about that,” Brown before Wednesday’s game.
“People always (talk about) the record. I don’t even know what records are around the corner. I know because you are here and the media starts coming more in droves.
“But it’s the absolute last thing that motivates me right now.”
Like last season, the 76ers are using this campaign for player development, evaluating talent and developing a culture and mounting loss at least boost their chances for another top draft pick.
Yet it was nice to get a win to stop answering questions about the losing streak.
“That’s why we play the game. We want to win,” Brown said. “Nobody is downplaying winning. I’m not here to candy-coat the desire and the approach to winning.
“We talk win. We coach win. They practise win. We want to win.”