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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Sixers Notebook: Closing in on history

Posted by Eric Fisher On November 23

It wasn’t my intention to make the lead item of each Sixers Notebook an analysis of when the team will register its first victory. But, with the franchise’s dubious record within sight, we need to go there once again.

The record for the worst start in franchise history is 0-15, a mark set by the infamous 1972-73 Sixers. That club finished 9-73, the worst record in NBA history for a full 82-game season. (The Charlotte Bobcats had a worse winning percentage – .106 – while going 7-59, losing their final 23 games, during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.)

The Sixers, who dropped to 0-13 with Saturday’s 91-83 loss to the Knicks, could break the record for the franchise’s worst start during their current homestand.

The Sixers host the Trail Blazers on Monday. There’s not much of a chance they’ll beat the Northwest Division leaders.

The Sixers’ best chance to avoid the infamy of tying the 1972-73 Sixers’ start appears to be Wednesday, when they host the Nets. The Nets enter Sunday with a 5-8 record. The Sixers’ next two games are against the Mavericks (Saturday) and the Spurs (Mon., Dec. 1), so the Nets game seems the best opportunity for a victory.

If the Sixers go 0-for-November, dropping to 0-16 in the process, don’t despair. There is hope for a victory in early December.

Following the Dec. 1 game against the visiting Spurs, the Sixers play three straight games against teams that (through Saturday’s games) only have three wins. The Sixers hit the road on Dec. 3 to face the Timberwolves, return home on Dec. 5 to host the depleted Thunder, and then hit the road again for a game the next night at Detroit.

The Sixers might actually win two games that week. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Sixers need to win their first game before we can speculate about their second win.

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TERRIBLE TRIP: Wins may be few and far between, but fans at least want the Sixers to be competitive. That wasn’t the case during their recent four-game road trip.

During trips to Toronto, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, the Sixers lost by an average of 27.75 point. It would have been worse if not for a one-point loss to the Rockets. The Sixers lost a 3-point lead in the final minute against the Rockets.

The most embarrassing game during this embarrassing trip was a 123-70 loss to the Mavericks. The Sixers trailed at halftime, 73-29. That’s the largest halftime deficit in franchise history.

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BAD HABITS: The worst moment of the 123-70 loss to the Mavericks came when head coach Brett Brown called over second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who was playing his first game of the season, to reprimand him for not hustling. In response to Brown’s admonition, MCW pointed to the scoreboard, as if to say, “We’re getting crushed. Why does it matter if I hustle?”

One of the dangers of general manager Sam Hinkie’s “tanking” strategy is that players will develop bad habits while becoming accustomed to losing. It only took one game to see that this might be an issue with MCW.

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NOEL’S NUMBERS: Nerlens Noel set season- and career-highs Saturday with 17 points and 12 rebounds during a 91-83 loss to the Knicks. That is a promising sign. On the other hand, Noel scored three points and had five rebounds in nearly 28 minutes the previous night during a 122-96 loss to the Suns.

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BENCH HELP: Forward Robert Covington, the NBA D-League MVP signed by the Sixers, poured in 14 points in just under 14 minutes during Saturday’s loss to the Knicks.

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MISTAKE BY THE LAKE? It’s tough to be a Sixers fan. But how would you like to be a Cavaliers fans?

After bringing back LeBron James and remaking the roster in order to make a championship run, the Cavaliers are 5-7, having lost four straight games. Unlike the Sixers, the Cavaliers are actually trying to win games. Thus far, they are performing far below expectations.

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LOSING WAYS: With the exception of the Sixers, every NBA team has won at least three games this season.

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BOTTOM OF ATLANTIC: The Sixers are in last place in, arguably, the NBA’s worst division. The Raptors lead the Atlantic Division with an 11-2 record, tied for the best in the league. But the second-place Nets are just 5-8, with the Celtics and Nets with four wins apiece.

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SOUTHWEST IS BEST: In contrast to the Atlantic, the last-place team in the Southwest Division, the Pelicans, has a 7-5 record. A 7-5 record would put the Pelicans in second place in four of the NBA’s divisions. In the Southwest, it puts them in last place, behind the surprising Grizzlies (11-2), Rockets (10-3), Mavericks (10-4) and Spurs (9-4).

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