Sixers lose again, set franchise record for worst start at 0-16

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) looks for an opening past Dallas Mavericks forward Brandan Wright (34) and guard J.J. Barea (5) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

All of those losses, in what is now the worst start in franchise history, had already dazed the 76ers.

So after punching themselves with four early fourth-quarter turnovers, they simply had nothing left.

The Sixers' Saturday night ended in franchise infamy, with a 110-103 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks for their 16th straight loss to begin the season. The Sixers passed the 1972-73 squad, which dropped its first 15 games.

"We are focused on getting better, but you can't dodge something like this," rookie power forward Nerlens Noel said of the record. "I know our attitudes are positive and we are working hard every day and we are continuing to progress.

"I don't think our record really speaks for what our team has done. I think we've been in quite a few close games. You can see our competitiveness."

You would have been hard-pressed to see any of the Sixers sulking after this loss. It was a moral victory even though the Mavs (13-5) were without starters Dirk Nowitzki (rest) and Jameer Nelson (back spasms). That's what happens when you lose by only seven points to a team that beat you by 53 two weeks earlier.

This time, the Sixers were competitive throughout on a night they didn't have Tony Wroten, their leading scorer. The combo guard will be sidelined at least a week with a sprained right knee.

The teams played through nine lead changes and eight ties before the Mavs went on to build a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

Their cushion came courtesy of self-inflicted wounds by the Sixers.

Down by four, the Sixers missed two shots and committed four costly turnovers during Dallas' 6-0 run to open the quarter. That gave the Mavs a 96-86 advantage with 9 minutes, 1 second left.

"Our turnovers hurt us more than people understand," said Sixers coach Brett Brown, whose squad's 24 turnovers led to 27 points by the Mavericks.

"It puts so much pressure on our defense," he added. "We see the end of the game and, 'Oh, you didn't get a shot. Or you needed more possessions to at least get a shot.' That is true. But what happens down the other end people kind of forget."

Sixers reserve guard K.J. McDaniels had another solid game, finishing with career highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds to go with two blocked shots. Michael Carter-Williams had his best overall game of the season, posting the third triple-double of his career. Last season's rookie of the year had 18 points, a career-high 16 assists, and a season-high 10 rebounds.

Tyson Chandler led the Mavs with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals, and added 3 assists.

The Sixers are tied with the 1994-95 Los Angeles Clippers with the third-longest winless streak to start a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets hold the league record at 18.

"It [stinks] not to get a win even when you are playing well," said Henry Sims, who finished with 13 points. "But we are getting there. We are getting close."

Rookie forward Jerami Grant, who had been dealing with a sprained right ankle, finished with a rebound and a blocked shot in his Sixers debut.