As the Philadelphia 76ers try to build off their first victory after an 0-17 start to the season, coach Brett Brown emphasized that the team is not tanking the season.
"Everything we're doing is about winning. I coach to win," Brown told ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Friday morning. "I talk about winning. We plan to win. We prepare to win. I get why [tanking] comes up, but it's not even close."
The Sixers, who had been outscored by an average of 14.4 points during their 17-game losing streak, got in the win column Wednesday with an 85-77 victory against Minnesota. They tried to make it two in a row Friday night but lost to visiting Oklahoma City 103-91.
The players continue to press onward.
"The big picture is to get better and start with defense first and continue to progress," said second-year player Nerlens Noel, whose team faces a daunting stretch now that will include 10 of the next 13 games on the road. "We are a young team, average age is like 23. So we are coming along, we are getting better every game.
"We just got our first win and we gave one of the top three teams in the NBA a pretty good game. So it speaks for itself, and we'll just continue to get better and better."
Losing hasn't come easily for Brown, who was hired to coach the Sixers after spending six years as an assistant to Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
"Where do you begin? I left Disneyland with Pop in San Antonio. We won 50 games every one of my years, went to five NBA Finals, won four of them," Brown told ESPN. "To come in now and have the challenge of coaching. ... It's the youngest team in the history of the sport. We're the team with the least experience.
"The challenges are all over the place. From trying to grow the team, to make sure they don't feel deflated, that they feel good about themselves. ... But I love it. Even though what I know now, with two draft picks not playing this year, I'd take this job 50 times out of 50 times."
ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.