HOUSTON: James Harden drained a season-high 50 points as the Houston Rockets held on to beat winless Philadelphia 116-114, handing the 76ers their record 27th straight loss on Friday night (Saturday in Manila).
It was the third career 50 point game for Harden, who now has the most in franchise history as he surpassed Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes who had two each.
The sad sack Sixers hit another low as they equaled their franchise-worst 0-17 start from last season.
With 27 consecutive losses dating back to March 27, Philadelphia now owns the record for the longest losing streak in North American major professional sports. The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 in row from 1976-77.
The Buccaneers went 0-14 in their first season in 1976 and started 0-12 in 1977 before beating New Orleans.
Harden added nine rebounds and eight assists, but also contributed nine turnovers in the win at Toyota Center arena.
“He’s got to be aggressive and he’s got to take what’s there, but we can’t count on him to score 50 points every night and win. That’s just not sustainable,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Harden. “We’ve got to do some things to help him.”
The 76ers fought hard in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough to avoid also setting an NBA record with their 27th consecutive loss over multiple seasons.
“They put themselves in a position where maybe you could steal a win,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “This one, was a little bit different because we clawed our way back.”
Guard Isaiah Canaan and forward Robert Covington led Philadelphia’s attack with Canaan scoring 23 points on four of 10 three-pointers, while Covington added a career-high 28 points plus seven rebounds and eight steals. Canaan and Covington are both former Rockets.