They are a loss away from becoming the Philadelphia 26ers.

As in, losers of 26 in a row.

A skid that would match the longest losing streak in NBA history and leave the 76ers one loss of holding the record for the four major professional sports.

“It’s tough we lose them consecutively, but it’s the NBA,” guard Tony Wroten said. “You play another day.”

With another loss tonight at Houston, the Sixers (15-56) will tie the NBA record of 26 consecutive losses set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The potential record-setter is Saturday at home against Detroit.

But the 76ers say this seemingly infinite skid comes with a purpose: Finishing first.

Philadelphia is losing to win the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Former Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy is among the critics that call Philly’s style of lottery-bound losing, tanking. Sixers management simply says it’s old-fashioned rebuilding. Whatever the label, the team with the worst record in the NBA has a 25 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick.

But there’s a flaw in the Sixers’ plan: Even with the avalanche of defeats, they still don’t have the worst record in the NBA, Milwaukee does. Entering Thursday, the Bucks are 13-58 and that puts them in the driver’s seat as they plummet toward the top spot.

The Bucks may be serving as motivation for the Sixers; there’s no suspense these days in the outcome of Philadelphia games. The Sixers have been outscored by 16.9 points during the losing streak; Cleveland was outscored by 13.7 while setting the record.

NEAL OUT — Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said reserve shooting guard Gary Neal could miss “two to three games” with a sprained left ankle.

Clifford said Wednesday that Neal “wants to play, but to me he’s obviously not 100 percent.” Neal was 0-for-8 in Charlotte’s loss Monday night to Houston and several of his shots hit off the front of the rim.