After the San Antonio Spurs handed the Philadelphia 76ers their 17th straight loss of the season on Monday night, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich praised Philadelphia for their continuous fight despite being winless this season. Here’s what Popovich had to say to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News after the Spurs’ 109-103 victory over the 76ers:
Pop on 76ers’ ongoing struggles: “I’ve seen lots of teams, at every level, just give in and give up. These guys came at us with everything.”
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 2, 2014
The Spurs rested Tim Duncan and Tony Parker on Monday, but were still able to find a way to win despite the absence of two of their best players. Philadelphia was within five points with a minute and a half left to play, but the Spurs were able to prevent the 76ers from getting any closer than that.
Part of Popovich’s praise comes from the massive amount of respect he has for 76ers head coach Brett Brown, who was an assisstant under Popovich in San Antonio before being named Philadelphia’s head man in 2013.
After last night’s loss to the Spurs, the 76ers are 0-17 on the season, becoming only the fourth team in league history to open the year with 17 losses. If Philadelphia loses to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, they’ll tie the New Jersey Nets for the worst start in NBA history.
If you are like me, you are probably curious who played on the infamous 2009 New Jersey Nets team that started 0-18. Notable players include: Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Devin Harris, Keyon Dooling and Josh Boone. That Nets team won 12 games all season, and got their first win of the year on December 4th over a Charlotte Bobcats team that started Raymond Felton, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler.
It’ll be interesting to see if this 76ers team can surpass 12 wins, but Popovich is absolutely correct, Brown must be commended for his positive demeanor despite the losses piling up. Basketball Society’s Cee Armel stated yesterday that he respects Brown because he continues to battle through these tough times, and he continues to push his young guys to get better everyday. He hasn’t quit on the 76ers, and the 76ers haven’t quit on him. It isn’t easy to continue to believe when defeat seems imminent every single night.
76ers have 80 losses in their last 99 games. The last 4 NBA champs lost a total of 81 games combined. (via ESPN)
— NBA Stats (@StatisticsNBA) December 2, 2014
If the 76ers lose to the Timberwolves on Wednesday, and get defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, they will set the record for the worst start by a franchise in NBA history (0-19.)