Oklahoma City’s torture of the Sixers goes back long before Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons
The 19-game skid started, oddly enough, with a strong game by a former Philly hoops star, Malik Rose.
The Sixers on Thursday night will try to snap a 19-game losing streak to Oklahoma City, an epic skid that spans almost 10 years, four coaches, and one very long Process.
They still have a way to go to reach the NBA record of dominance by one opponent over another. The previous version of the Thunder’s franchise, the Seattle SuperSonics, beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 26 consecutive times from 1991-97.
With Joel Embiid not playing Thursday at Oklahoma City (TNT, 8 p.m.), it would take a Sixers upset for the streak not to reach 20 games. Here, however painful, is a closer look at the skid (home teams in all caps).
Loss No. 1. March 8, 2009, THUNDER 89, Sixers 74
OKC went on a 20-2 run to start the second quarter and never looked back. The Thunder played without leading scorer Kevin Durant. Philly native Malik Rose, a 13-year veteran in what was his final game against the Sixers, had 14 points off the bench for Oklahoma City.
L2. Dec. 2, 2009, THUNDER 117, Sixers 106
Durant had 33, but the buzz around the Sixers was the imminent return of Allen Iverson, who had decided to come out of retirement for one more bite of the apple.
L3. March 30, 2010, Thunder 111, SIXERS 93
Iverson had called it quits for good less than a month earlier. Rookie James Harden had 12 points off the bench for the Thunder.
L4. Nov. 10, 2010, THUNDER 109, Sixers 103
Durant and Russell Westbrook each had 31 points.
L5. March 9, 2011, Thunder 110, SIXERS 105 (OT)
The Sixers blew a five-point lead in the last 37 seconds of regulation as Durant hit a jumper, blocked an Andre Iguodala jumper, then hit a three-pointer over Iguodala to force overtime.
L6. Feb. 29, 2012, Thunder 92, SIXERS 88
The Sixers missed 11 consecutive shots during the fourth quarter and folded like a lawn chair down the stretch.
L7. Nov. 24, 2012, Thunder 116, SIXERS 109 (OT)
More bad news for the Sixers, who learned before the game that Andrew Bynum’s knee injury would again keep him out indefinitely. Good Lord … Andrew Bynum.
L8. Jan. 4, 2013, THUNDER 109, Sixers 85
Nick Young (6-for-8) was the only Sixer to shoot a free throw. That’s not easy to do.
L9. Jan. 25, 2014, Thunder 103, SIXERS 91
A night after giving up a triple-double to Kyle Lowry, the Sixers watched Durant do the same thing (32 points, 14 boards, 10 dimes). “Everybody’s scared because he’s Kevin Durant and he scores in such a variety of ways,” first-year Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “He is the NBA’s hottest player. He’s always been an incredibly difficult guard. You blink, and he’s got a triple-double.”
L10. March 4, 2014, THUNDER 125, Sixers 92
Speaking of stuffing the stat sheet, Westbrook (13-10-14) notched a triple-double in 21 minutes — the quickest in almost 60 years — as the Thunder rolled. Durant had 42.
L11. Dec. 5, 2014, Thunder 103, SIXERS 91
Among the heroes in the Sixers’ starting lineup: Luc Mbah a Moute, Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims.
L12. March 4, 2015, THUNDER 123, Sixers 118 (OT)
The Sixers entered the game 13-47 and hung tough on the road, but there was too much Westbrook. The Thunder guard had his best game against the Sixers with 49 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
L13. Nov. 13, 2015, THUNDER 102, Sixers 85
This was the 10-72 year and the ninth game of the Sixers’ 0-18 start. Christian Wood, whoever that was, led Philadelphia with 15. The Sixers’ starters were a combined minus-80.
L14. March 18, 2016, Thunder 111, SIXERS 97
The Thunder pounded the beleaguered Sixers on the boards, 63-36. “We’re small, and we’re not thick,” Brown said. “We’re light right now.” That would change shortly.
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L15. Oct. 26, 2016, Thunder 103, SIXERS 97
The losing streak to OKC stretched to 15 games, but Joel Embiid made his NBA debut with 20 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes, 25 seconds of play. It was quite an opening night in South Philly.
L16. March 22, 2017, THUNDER 122, Sixers 97
Without Embiid (knee), the Sixers were hammered on the glass, 54-25, and never really had a chance.
The Embiid-Westbrook personal rivalry reached a new level in this triple-overtime thriller, which ended with Westbrook (who struggled with his shooting) derisively waving goodbye to Embiid when the game finally ended. “I mean, the dude shot 10-for-33. I wish I would have shot 33 times. I guess we would have had a better chance of actually winning the game," said Embiid, who took 20 shots and had 34-8-6 in 49 minutes. “But he told me to go home. This is my home. I ain’t going nowhere."
The Sixers couldn’t withstand 37 points from Westbrook and 31 from Paul George. Westbrook conceded he was looking forward to this game after the fireworks from the last meeting.
George’s four-point play with 5.1 seconds left was a killer, but the talk afterward was another skirmish between Embiid and Westbrook. Late in the fourth, Westbrook took exception to a hard foul and confronted the Sixers’ giant center before being restrained. Shame Embiid’s not playing on Thursday.
Did you know?
* The only time the Sixers beat the Thunder was Nov. 15, 2008 at the Wells Fargo Center — a little less than three weeks after the Phillies’ World Series parade.
* The last time the Sixers beat the Thunder franchise on the road was New Year’s Eve 2007 in Seattle. The Sixers’ starting lineup that night was Rodney Carney, Samuel Dalembert, Reggie Evans, Andre Iguodala, and Andre Miller.
* The losing streak by Sixers coach: Tony DiLeo 0-1, Eddie Jordan 0-2, Doug Collins 0-5, Brett Brown 0-11.
* Jimmy Butler’s teams are 6-5 against Oklahoma City since he became a full-time starter in 2013-14. Tobias Harris is 4-8 since 2014-15.
Sources: Inquirer research, ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com
Sixers records vs. ...
Here is how the 76ers have fared in the regular season since their drought against Oklahoma City started on March 8, 2009: