CHICAGO – Henry Sims can see the growth and he’s not referring to the stack of losses.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ skid continued and so did their march toward the wrong kind of record.
They have dropped 24 straight after losing 91-81 to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. But Sims can at least see some positives.
“We’re learning to play better with each other,” he said. “We’re learning to make better decisions down the stretch. We’re growing right now, and that’s the main focus right now. The games we have left, we want to keep growing.”
They wouldn’t mind stopping the losing streak, either, but the Bulls weren’t about to let that happen.
Joakim Noah finished with 20 points, Jimmy Butler scored 17, and Chicago handed the 76ers yet another loss to put them within two of the NBA record.
The Sixers moved ahead of the Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) for the second-longest, single-season losing streak.
The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped 26 during the 2010-11 season, and Philadelphia would have to pull off an upset to avoid tying that.
The next two games are at San Antonio and Houston. Drop them, and the Sixers could set the record at home against Detroit on March 29, particularly if they continue to shoot like this from the outside.
They missed their first 18 3-pointers and were threatening a league record before Byron Mullens made one early in the fourth. They wound up going 1-for-20. The mark for most 3-point attempts in a game without a conversion is 15.
“We were 1-for-20 — what do you say?” coach Brett Brown asked. “It’s going to be hard. I thought our defense was really quite good. It’s always going to be hard if you can’t make perimeter shots. This group has struggled doing that, and so, finding wins and finding ways to stay in games is always going to be a challenge.”
Despite that, the Sixers hung in until Taj Gibson buried a jumper and D.J. Augustin nailed a 3 with 2:30 remaining. That made it 91-79 and sealed the win for the Bulls, who moved into a tie for third in the Eastern Conference with Toronto.
Noah and Butler each had eight rebounds, with Butler dishing out six assists. Gibson came on strong in the fourth quarter to finish with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Augustin added 16 points and six assists, and the Bulls came away with the win after losing at Indiana the previous night.
Pelicans 105, Heat 95
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis had 30 points, 11 rebounds and three steals as the Pelicans handed struggling Miami its seventh loss in 11 games.
LeBron James twisted his right ankle while stepping on Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans’ foot during a drive to the hoop late in the third quarter, but remained in the game and finished with 25 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Grizzlies 82, Pacers 71
In Memphis, Mike Conley scored 21 points, and Zach Randolph added 18 points and 13 rebounds as the Grizzlies held Indiana to its lowest point total of the season.
Rockets 118, Cavaliers 111
In Cleveland, James Harden scored 37 points, including 17 in the third quarter as Houston led from wire-to-wire in a victory over the Cavaliers.
Bobcats 124, Trail Blazers 94
In Charlotte, Al Jefferson scored 28 points and two others finished with more than 20 as the Bobcats routed Portland.
Clippers 112, Pistons 103
In Los Angeles, Chris Paul had 28 points and 15 assists, and Blake Griffin added 25 points as the Clippers beat Detroit to extend the Pistons’ losing streak to five games.
Spurs 99, Warriors 90
In Oakland, Tony Parker had 20 points and five assists, and Danny Green scored 18 points as short-handed San Antonio outlasted Golden State for its 13th straight victory.
Jazz 89, Magic 88
In Salt Lake City, Trey Burke scored 17 points, including a high-arcing 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining, to push Utah past Orlando.