PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Down and out or down to the wire, the 76ers are freefalling toward NBA history.
D.J Augustin scored 20 points and Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 102-94 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night, handing the 76ers their 22nd straight loss.
The Sixers are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for the longest single-season losing streak. The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season. The Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) each lost 23 straight.
"Winnable game," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "I say that because a group that's been losing ... still stays together. They still compete. I'm proud of them."
The Sixers also lost their 17th straight home game since beating Charlotte on Jan. 15. They were 8-11 at home at that point and had already defeated Miami, the Bulls, and Houston in Philadelphia.
After the Sixers were 3-0 following a Nov. 2 win over Chicago, fans held signs that said, "3-0. That's No Bull."
That seems like another season at times after the Sixers traded Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen at the deadline for draft picks, a necessary step for a rebuilding franchise.
Unlike most of the first 21 losses in the streak, the Sixers were competitive until the final possessions, never letting the Bulls lead by more than 11.
Sixers center Byron Mullens, who hadn't attempted a shot all game, hit consecutive 3s to pull the Sixers to 83-80. He made a nifty save on a ball headed out of bounds, leading to Henry Sims' bucket and a foul. With a chance to tie the game, Sims missed the free throw with 8:19 left.
Thaddeus Young bailed him out a possession later with a 3-pointer that made it 85-all.
Joakim Noah buried a go-ahead 3 from the top of the arc and Augustin followed with one from the sideline to put the Bulls up 91-85.
Tony Wroten's 3 made it 93-90 but it was just more false hope. Carlos Boozer's emphatic dunk stretched the lead to six and the Bulls did enough to hang on and move to .500 on the road (17-17).
The Sixers have lost three of four by less than 10 points after losing each of the previous 10 games by double-digits.