HOUSTON – The 76ers continue to lose, and James Anderson continues to flourish against the Rockets, his former team.
Anderson’s 30 points led the Sixers. But they needed more players that can shoot to keep up with the Rockets, who en route to a 120-98 win at Toyota Center on Thursday, handed the 76ers their 26th consecutive loss (see Instant Replay).
The Sixers' defeat matched the NBA record for most consecutive losses in a single season set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-11. In the process, the 76ers lowered their record to 15-57.
“We try not to pay any attention to it but we have a lot of people talking about it, so it’s hard to ignore,” Anderson said from a depressed locker room. “We’re in a rebuilding process and we have a lot of guys fighting for a job next year and we’ll continue to improve and fight for the rest of the year.
“We can’t get down. We don’t want to hang our head on this. We’re trying to win every time we go out.”
Earlier Thursday, 76ers coach Brett Brown said he was proud and pleased to coach this team, despite the mounting losses.
“Had we sprinkled those 15 wins out differently, the attention wouldn’t be as it is,” Brown said. “We still don’t have the poorest record in the league.”
Anderson tried his best to get a win for the Sixers, who shot only 38.9 percent from the field (35 of 90) and were 14 of 36 on three-pointers. The 6-foot-6 Anderson was 11 of 18 shooting, 6 of 11 on threes.
In an earlier meeting this year, a 123-117 home overtime win for the Sixers, Anderson hit a game-tying three with 6.6 seconds left to force overtime. En route to 36 points that game, Anderson was 12 of 16 shooting, 6 of 8 on three-pointers.
Both of Anderson’s career 30-plus point games have come against the Rockets.
Anderson said one reason he plays well against the Rockets is because of James Harden, who led the Rockets on Thursday with 26 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds while playing only three quarters. Anderson likes being tested against one of the league’s premier players.
“To go up against a great talent like James Harden, I got to embrace it and take the challenge,” Anderson said.
Michael Carter-Williams, one of the league’s top rookies, had 10 assists but was only 2 of 11 from the field, missing all three of his three-point attempts. He’s well aware of the losing streak that the 76ers will attempt to end on Saturday at home versus Detroit.
“After the game a couple of guys had long faces, including myself,” Carter-Williams said. “It is important we don’t get down on ourselves.
“It’s a tough thing to swallow. This is a great group of guys still fighting, still trying to win.”
A reverse layup by Anderson tied the game 43-43. But an alley-oop dunk by Dwight Howard from Jeremy Lin gave the Rockets a 45-43 lead with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter. After Anderson’s basket, the Rockets outscored the Sixers 20-6 to take a 63-49 halftime advantage.
“There were periods we lost focus,” Brown said. “Small things like that, there’s no wiggle room. There’s no margin of error with us.
“If we are going to steal a win, you just can’t have those small periods out there.”