MEMPHIS - The 76ers extended one futility record and tied another Sunday. Yes, it was a normal game-day experience for them.
The only difference was their opponent was the Memphis Grizzlies in this 92-84 loss at FedExForum.
It was the Sixers' 28th straight loss dating to March 27, extending the U.S. professional sports record they set in Friday's defeat at Houston. They also lost their 18th consecutive game to start the season, tying the league record set by the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets.
They are in line to shatter that record in Tuesday's home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
It will be Kobe Bryant's final game at the Wells Fargo Center. The future Hall of Famer announced Sunday that he will retire after this season.
Despite sinking deeper into another dismal season, the Sixers left Tennessee with their heads raised.
"For people that don't follow our program, they just simply see a record and volume of losses," coach Brett Brown said. ". . . For the people here, especially the Philadelphia journalists, to have seen the effort and how close we are to playing with some really good players, against some really good teams on the road, driving on floors and being there - most definitely I leave very, very proud of our guys. We made progress."
The Sixers didn't give in to the Grizzlies (10-8) despite playing without Nerlens Noel for the second consecutive game. The power forward is still dealing with knee tendinitis. He also had flulike systems.
So the Sixers used a starting lineup of Isaiah Canaan, JaKarr Sampson, Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, and Jahlil Okafor for the second straight game. And like they did against the Rockets, the Sixers refused to go away against Memphis.
They kept chipping away at a double-digit lead, and even took a five-point lead (76-71) with 7 minutes, 38 seconds remaining. But the Grizzlies responded with an 18-3 run to take an 89-79 lead with 2:22 left.
"We turned it over a few times, missing shots," Okafor said. "They hit some big threes down the stretch that really helped them out. That was really the end of the game."
The Sixers only made 3 of 16 shots and committed eight turnovers that led to 14 Memphis points in the fourth quarter. They did manage to fight back and get within five points (89-84) with 47 seconds left after an Okafor layup, but that was as close as they would get.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley led all scorers with 20 points to go with five assists. Zach Randolph, who missed the last five games with a sore right knee, finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Canaan led the Sixers with 16 points while making 4 of 12 three-pointers. Covington and Hollis Thompson finished with 12 points apiece. Covington also had a game-high seven steals to go with seven rebounds and eight steals.
Okafor finished with nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds.