DALLAS - So much for getting a lift.
The 76ers were humiliated Thursday night in a 123-70 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. The 53-point setback was their worst since a 56-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1993.
The Sixers are winless through eight games for the first time since the dreaded 1972-73 season. That team went 9-73 to set the NBA's futility record.
Based on their last two losses by a combined 85 points, this season's squad is on pace to break that record.
"We talked a lot about the good news - it's the NBA. You get another game tomorrow [against the Houston Rockets]," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "The bad news is, it doesn't go away. It's like water dripping on your forehead, and there's no place to hide.
"And, so, as a group, we have to figure out a way to compete."
The Sixers had hoped to get some sort of lift, at least emotionally, from the returns of Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. Instead, the duo had the misfortune of being part of a game that was over shortly after it began.
The Sixers' 44-point halftime deficit is believed to be the largest in franchise history. Things were so bad that they finished with more turnovers (28) than field goals (23). Dallas (6-3) led by as many as 58 points with 45.1 seconds left. And things could have been worse.
Maverick coach Rick Carlisle substituted freely for most of the game before he began to take his starters out in the third quarter.
Carter-Williams and Noel both came off the bench in this lopsided game, while rookie swingman K.J. McDaniels received his first career start.
For Carter-Williams, it was his first appearance of the season. The 2014 rookie of the year had surgery on his right shoulder on May 6 and was not cleared to participate in full-contact scrimmages until Nov. 6. He had not played in a game since last season's finale against the Miami Heat on April 16.
Noel returned after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. This game marked the first time the two former AAU teammates from the Boston area played together in the NBA.
Carter-Williams had a team-high 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting. He also had team highs of eight rebounds and five assists to go with six turnovers.
Noel had five points, seven rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot. McDaniels finished with eight points.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 21 points. All 13 available players on Dallas' roster scored at least two points.
Carter-Williams faced Chester native Jameer Nelson (two points), who could have mentored the Sixer this season.
The 11-year veteran has scored more than 8,000 career points. Like Carter-Williams, he had right shoulder surgery. The former St. Joseph all-American, who was the 2004 college player of the year, could have been a welcome addition to the Sixers.
However, he signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal with the Mavs in July, after the Orlando Magic waived him on June 30. Nelson spent 10 seasons in Orlando.
Sixers reserve Alexey Shved missed the game with lower-back pain.
The lopsided loss could stick in the youthful Sixers' minds for some time.
"Through the hard days when I'm working out and when the team isn't practicing on the practice floor, we will remember this," Carter-Williams said. "We don't want to have this feeling again."