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The Sixers will find a way to lose, even if they have to kick a basketball

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Kicking basketballs, leaving the rim open ... this some top-notch losing.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers played a pretty brilliant game against the Houston Rockets. They were in great position to upset one of the league's best teams, leading by three with 35 seconds to go. The Sixers do not tolerate such excellence, and initiated a truly impressive feat of tanking.

1. After Houston's James Harden drew a foul, Brett Brown -- the damn coach of the Sixers -- randomly decided to boot the ball and draw a technical, giving Harden an extra free throw:

2. Harden hit only two of his three free throws, so the job wasn't done. Now up one, Philadelphia gave the ball to Michael Carter-Williams, who dribbled into help and delivered it directly out of bounds:

3. Now the Rockets needed a basket to take the lead, so the Sixers gave Harden a wiiiiide open lane to drive and score:

Philadelphia missed a game-winner, and thus a game in which it had previously led by 13 against the one-loss Rockets was successfully blown.

For real, though, players don't tank -- organizations do -- and that had to be a frustrating collapse for guys who desperately want to win. But DAMN, was that a master class in messing up a winnable game.

★★★

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