ATLANTA - The 76ers' losing streak educated Brett Brown about his new surroundings.
"I've learned that this city does have patience," the rookie head coach said of Philadelphia. "I'm proud of the city."
Philadelphia's sports fans may still take a beating in the national media, but they have shown tolerance while the Sixers (16-57) sacrifice wins in pursuit of a top lottery pick in June's draft. That support did not seem to waver as the Sixers matched the record for consecutive losses by a U.S. professional team with 26.
The Sixers ended the slump Saturday night with a 123-98 win at the Wells Fargo Center. The 17,438 in attendance showed their appreciation by giving the team a standing ovation in the closing seconds.
"I believe this city believes that we've been transparent," said Brown, whose team faces the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at Philips Arena. "We haven't hidden anything. This is who we are and we own it."
The Sixers realize that their tanking tactics have drawn national criticism and made them the laughingstock of pro sports.
"You may not agree with it," Brown said. "But this is our path. This is our plan. And I think that the city's patience has been remarkable. We're grateful. We want to deliver for them."
That repayment may come three to five seasons down the road.
But it will be interesting to see whether the Sixers can deliver against the Hawks (31-41). Atlanta has lost six consecutive games and 20 of its last 26.
The Hawks, however, have destroyed the Sixers twice this season. They've also won four of the last five matchups.
The Sixers must contain Jeff Teague if they expect to win consecutive games for the first time since they won four straight against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4.
A point guard, Teague is averaging 22.5 points and nine assists against the Sixers. On the flip side, Sixers guard James Anderson has struggled against Atlanta. He scored a total of two points on 1-for-12 shooting in two games against the Hawks this season.