MIAMI - It's déjà vu for the 76ers.
Like in previous seasons, the losing streaks are long and painful. And, now, they're close to being historic.
The Sixers are two losses away from tying the NBA consecutive-loss record that their 2013-14 team shares with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
Their losing streak reached 24 games dating to March 27 on Saturday as they were outscored by 20-4 in the final 7 minutes, 13 seconds by the Miami Heat in a 96-91 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena.
This one really hurt.
"We know that everything we get, we have to fight for," said coach Brett Brown "And fight for it we do.
"To see a win that was that close taken away from a bunch of young, aspiring NBA players, I think that's cruel."
The Sixers fought hard in what was their best performance of the season. Yet, they blew an 11-point lead with 7:13 remaining. A lot of it had to do with missing 11 straight shots after building that lead. Taking advantage, Chris Bosh knotted the score on a three-pointer with less than three minutes to play. Then Gerald Green made a pair of foul shots to give Miami a 91-89 advantage with 1:25 left. Justise Winslow's tip-in with 51.7 seconds left gave the Heat a four-point cushion.
With the loss, the Sixers have also started the season with 14 straight defeats, three off the franchise record of 17 to start a campaign, set last year. The league record is 18, held by the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets.
Losses like Saturday's "definitely do hurt a little bit more than losses that you're in a different position the whole game," Sixers power forward Nerlens Noel said. "We felt like we had control the whole game, and definitely it hurts a little more to lose like that. We just have to learn how to finish the game especially when we're up like that.
"We just have to do our job."
Next up for the Sixers is a game at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, followed by games at the Boston Celtics (Wednesday) and Houston Rockets (Friday). They could break the overall losing streak record and match their franchise mark for losses to start a season against Houston. They would be in line to set that record Sunday at the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Saturday, Miami's Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 27 points. Bosh had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Hassan Whiteside had 13 points, nine rebounds, and eight blocks. Winslow, a rookie, added 11 points off the bench for the Heat (8-4).
Meanwhile, the Sixers were paced by roommates and reserves Isaiah Canaan and Robert Covington.
Canaan scored nine of his team-high 22 points in the third quarter while making 3 of 4 three-pointers. He finished the game with five threes. Covington added 21 points and six rebounds. Rookie center Jahlil Okafor had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The Sixers had a 17-point lead early in the second quarter, and, despite many charges by Miami (8-4), they were able to maintain the lead for most of the game.
Noel (10 points, eight rebounds) gave them an 87-76 advantage on his dunk with 7:14 left. Afterward, the Sixers fell apart.
"I think it was a cruel loss," Brown said. "We were in a position to get our first win. We just couldn't get into anything at the end of the game. . . . It is part of a cruel path that evidently we have to take . . . to be able to learn from this and learn how to close out a game."