"No one likes to be in purgatory because you can be in purgatory forever," Croce said . "But it is scary. There is an old Jewish adage: Man plans and God laughs. There's no guarantee, right?"
Before Saturday, there had been only one sure thing for Sixers over the past two months, and that was a loss. The Sixers traded Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes before the trading deadline to basically ensure that they would stay the course, rebuild and free up cap space.
The Sixers potentially own seven draft picks in this year's NBA draft, including their own first-round pick and the Pelicans' first-rounder, as long as it's not in the top five.
"This is a three- to a five-year plan," Brown said. "You are going to look on the floor and you will see some first-round draft picks, a healthy Nerlens Noel, a Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams."
But for one night, the Sixers didn't want to think about the future. They wanted to avoid history and feel what it was like to win again. The Sixers threw down several dunks, drilled 12 3-pointers, scored 70 in a half and led by as much as 32 in the third over a disinterested Pistons team that lost the night before to Miami at home.
"I don't have much of a choice," veteran Thaddeus Young said of being patient and trying to lead the team through all the losing. "I'm here and going to continue to do things I've been doing before I inherited this team or the plan or the structure or rebuilding process that we are in right now."
Nobody knows whether all this losing will be worth it. But for the first time this season, Sixers fan Jon Rondolone was able to leave Wells Fargo Center with his 5-year-old son, Giovanni, with a new experience.
Father and son, both wearing retro Iverson jerseys, have been to 16 home games this season. They have been to games in past years, but this was the first victory they have witnessed during this season.
"Giovanni gets upset when they lose and gets excited when they tie," said Rondolone, who also accepts the team's rebuilding strategy. "They never have the lead [this season], so he gets excited when they tie."
The Sixers didn't make history on Saturday, but they gave Giovanni something he hadn't seen all season -- his first Sixers lead, win and victory-ending standing ovation.