MINNEAPOLIS - So close. So tantalizingly close.
That's about as good as the 76ers can hope for these days.
Their losing streaks are almost historic - at least recently - in part because of an inability to finish games.
Questionable lineups and an inability to feed Jahlil Okafor the ball in the clutch led to the Sixers self-destructing down the stretch in Monday's 100-95 setback at the Minnesota Timberwolves. That came two nights after they blew an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 96-91 loss at the Miami Heat.
"We have to do a better job of executing," Nerlens Noel said. "We are all over the place in the last four or five minutes. We have to do a better job of that."
So the Sixers found themselves in another embarrassing situation. They have lost 25 straight since last March. A loss Wednesday night at the Boston Celtics will match the NBA's overall consecutive loss record of 26 that their 2013-14 team shares with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Sixers, who have started the season with 15 straight losses, are two away from the franchise mark set last season. The league record is 18, held by the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets.
"It's definitely tough," Noel said of the Sixers keeping their heads up. "We've just got to continue to know that we are right there. We've got to focus in on the last five minutes of pure execution."
Much of this season is focused on the development of twin towers Noel and Okafor.
However, they didn't get opportunities to display their skills with Monday's game on the line.
Despite having a dominant performance, Okafor wasn't fed the ball after he reentered in a 91-91 tie with 2 minutes, 11 seconds to play. Meanwhile, Noel, the team's top rebounder and rim protector, was subbed out for Okafor and didn't return.
Okafor finished with a team-high 25 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Now, the Sixers face a Celtics team that headed into Tuesday night's game at the Atlanta Hawks with a 7-6 record.
Boston owns a five-game series winning streak over the Sixers and holds a 249-184 all-time advantage.