Last night, the continuation of the 76ers' losing streak, or its termination, came down to one moment: the flick of Andre Iguodala's wrist.
There were 3.9 seconds on the game clock and Iguodala rose for a potential winning three-pointer.
If he made it, the streak could end at 10. If he missed it, the slump would reach 11.
This morning, it stands at 11.
Inside a much quieter Wachovia Center, the Detroit Pistons beat the Sixers, 90-86.
The Pistons - without injured stars Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, and Ben Gordon - improved to 9-12. Detroit outrebounded the Sixers, 45-32.
The Sixers (5-17) last won on Nov. 18, beating the Charlotte Bobcats. Their winning hiatus has reached 21 days.
On the Sixers' final meaningful possession, Iguodala came off a double-down screen, his defender having fallen down. Iguodala caught a pass from point guard Allen Iverson, open on the right wing.
"I was a little surprised; I didn't know I'd be that open," said Iguodala, who scored a team-high 18 points.
As Iguodala rose for the shot, his team trailed, 88-86.
"That's what we drew up, Allen coming off a double screen," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan explained afterward. "Allen had the option to go one-on-one or we had Andre coming off another double. If Andre was open, Andre was there for a shot."
Iguodala was there.
"I wanted the shot," Iverson said of the moment, "but I don't think I could have even gotten a better shot than the shot we had. That was the best shot that we could get. Guy falls down and Dre gets a three for the game? Got to take that shot. . . . We got everything that we wanted on that last play, and more."
Iguodala's shot, on which he appeared to short-circuit his follow-through, hit the back of the rim and bounced off.
Only a few seconds before Iguodala's miss, the Sixers appeared to have a crucial, last-second defensive stop. Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey, who scored a game-high 27 points, fumbled in the lane with just under 10 seconds left, his attempt blocked by Iguodala.
Stuckey grabbed the loose ball, turned from about nine feet away, and swirled in the winning jumper.
"You get a stop and they get a bounce," said Iguodala, summarizing that possession.
On Monday night in Iverson's emotional return to the Sixers, 20,664 people packed the Wachovia Center. Last night, that number dropped to 12,136.
Along with the attendance, so too dropped Iverson's effectiveness. He played 33 minutes, scoring 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting with three assists, six turnovers and no rebounds.
Last night's game should have been the streak's end: The Sixers were at home, playing an injury-wracked opponent, a team with double-digit losses.
Plus, some lingering Iverson effect was expected: a little boost, that je ne sais quoi he brings.
But last night, the tangible energy expected to fill the Wachovia Center - only one game after Iverson's return - disappeared.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, the losing streak did not.