The long nightmare of a losing streak that stretched more than eight months, 28 games and parts of two seasons, is over for the 76ers.
Behind 23 points from Robert Covington and 14 points from Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant, the Sixers broke through into the win column with a 103-91 decision over the hapless Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night a the Wells Fargo Center.
Gone with the victory is the longest losing streak in North American major sports history at 28. Also wiped out is the NBA record-tying 18 straight losses to open a season.
The Lakers, at 2-15, hold a two-game advantage over the Sixers for the worst record in the NBA.
A third-quarter tussle between Lakers center Roy Hibbert and the Sixers’ Isaiah Canaan, JaKarr Sampson and Jerami Grant seemed to wake up the Sixers. Hibbert appeared to have Canaan in an arm bar, which prefaced some pushing and shoving, drawing Sampson and Grant to Canaan’s aid.
Hibbert appeared to shove a referee, but he remained in the game with a technical foul. Grant and Sampson also were hit with technical fouls.
From that moment, though, the Sixers stepped on the throttle and pushed their lead to 14 points with 7:20 to go in the game.
Kobe’s last trip
Bryant, in his first game since announcing his retirement on Sunday, hit three of his first four shots on his way to 13 points in the opening quarter.
But Bryant went just 4 for 21 the rest of the way for 20 points.
Bryant, who grew up in Montgomery County, appeared in his final game at the Wells Fargo Center.
Noel returned to action after missing the last two games because of some knee soreness and an illness. Coach Brett Brown used Noel in a reserve role in which he logged 27 minutes and scored 14 points on 5 for 7 shooting.
Lou Williams and Nick Young returned to their old stomping grounds with the Lakers. Williams scored nine points in 21 minutes and Young added four points in 12 minutes.
Covington scored his 23 points on 8 for 16 shooting with five three-pointers. Jahlil Okafor and Canaan also scored 12 points.
The Sixers got 40 points off the bench, including a game-high six assists from T.J. McConnell.
No. 2 overall draft pick D’Angelo Russell scored 12 points on 5 for 14 shooting with four rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes. The Lakers also got a double-double from Julius Randle, who went for 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Sixers play the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday night when they take a short trip up the New Jersey Turnpike to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Following the game the Sixers head home for two games in a row for the first time since Nov. 16 and 18.