Elton Brand sat at his locker Tuesday night and uttered six words: "We need to turn this around."
The reserve power forward was referring to the 76ers' woeful reality after their latest loss. This one was a 100-85 setback on Tuesday to the Charlotte Hornets that dropped the league-worst Sixers to 9-66. It was their 10th consecutive setback and 23rd in the last 24 games.
"When I talk about turning it around, just get some wins, end of the season, feel good," said Brand, whose squad has seven games left. "I've been on teams like the [Atlanta] Hawks. A few years ago, we won some games at the end and made the playoffs. Then next year, that carried over.
"So we just want to feel good about the season, play strong, and get off this schneid."
Circumstances are much different for Brand from when he was a Hawk during the 2013-14 season. That team lost 14 of 15 games from Feb. 4 to March 8, 2014. Then after winning five straight, the Hawks went on to lose five consecutive games. However, they ended the season winning 7 of 10 and clinching the Eastern Conference's eighth playoff spot.
Atlanta went on to post a conference-best 60-22 record last season. The top-seeded Hawks lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals.
But this is different.
The Sixers need at least one win to avoid the embarrassment of matching two futility marks.
By losing their final seven games, they would tie the league's worst mark through 82 regular-season games - 9-73 set by the 1972-73 Sixers. They also would tie the Dallas Mavericks' mark for the worst record over a three-year period. The Mavericks went 46-200 over the 1991-92, '92-93 and '93-94 seasons.
"We have to . . . get some victories," said Brand, a 17-year veteran who came out of retirement in January to mentor the young Sixers. "It feels good. You know how to win. You feel good about winning."
The Sixers will have a tough time getting victory No. 10 on Friday. It will be their second straight game against the Hornets (43-41), who were in sixth place in the conference as of Tuesday night. They were a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the fourth spot. The top four playoff teams get home-court advantage in the opening round.
So don't expect the Hornets to rest key players.
Meanwhile, the Sixers are scheduled to be without Nerlens Noel (bruised right knee), Jerami Grant (bruised right knee and bruised right quadriceps), Richaun Holmes (strained right Achilles), and Jahlil Okafor (torn right meniscus rehabilitation).