By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Dallas Mavericks didn’t want to be The Ones. They didn’t want to be like another team from Texas 42 years ago that lost to a 0-15 Philadelphia 76ers team on Nov. 11, 1972.

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No NBA team wants to be the first to lose to the 2014-15 Sixers, like they didn’t want to lose to the infamous 1972-73 Sixers that finished 9-73. “Who wants to lose to these mutts,” said someone sitting behind the Dallas bench Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center before these winless Sixers took the floor.

But that’s what Dallas flirted with for three quarters against the 76ers, before the Mavs finally emerged with a 110-103 victory.

The 2014-15 Sixers now own the longest losing streak to begin a season in franchise history, dipping to 0-16. It’s something the horrid 1972-73 Sixers avoided, by beating the Houston Rockets, 114-112, on Nov. 11, 1972.

“It’s been a tough year for them and I respect their coach and how hard they play,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We talked all about it in our meeting this afternoon, we’re playing against a team like their pants on fire the whole night. And they did.”

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By the swirling crowd noise that reverberated throughout the Wells Fargo Center, you’d swear it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Not a fanbase clinging to anything it could for a winless basketball team with little hope.

Dallas, playing without superstar Dirk Nowitzki, watching nervously from the sideline, got 20 from Tyson Chandler, 18 from Monta Ellis, 17 from Chandler Parsons, and 15 from Devin Harris.

The 76ers are now fighting more historical lows, by becoming the first team in NBA history to open winless after 19 games. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets still hold that record, beginning their season 0-18. The Sixers are one loss away from tying the 1988-89 Miami Heat, which started 0-17 and the 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, which also started 0-17 in the labor-dispute shortened 1999 season.

Against Dallas, the Sixers held four leads, 2-0, 6-4, 81-80, with 3:00 left in the third quarter after a pair of Alexey Shved free throw, and 85-84 after a Henry Sims layup with 1:51 left in the third quarter.

“In the NBA, it’s been said a long time that winning streaks are harder than it seems, and losing streaks are a lot easier than you think,” Dallas’ Richard Jefferson said. “Good teams come in and focused on being the team that doesn’t give it up. That’s how losing streaks can get on a roll.

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“They are playing hard and there’s no bad body language. They get frustrated. But coach [Brett] Brown is doing a great job over there. He’s trying to instill some confidence in the guys and he’s doing the right things.”

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