The Detroit Pistons avoided another dance with NBA history Saturday, defeating the Toronto Raptors 129-127 at Little Caesars Arena to end a 28-game losing skid that matched the league’s all-time losing streak.
Pistons coach Monty Williams said, “There was a sense of relief, for sure,” following the win. “But there wasn’t the proverbial exhale. We know we have a lot of basketball left to play,” he added.
Star guard Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 30 points and 12 assists in the contest, while center Jalen Duren had a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Raptors forward Pascal Siakam paced Toronto with 35 points. The Raptors were without forward OG Anunoby, whom Toronto traded to the New York Knicks before the game Saturday.
The Pistons blew a 19-point halftime lead in a 128-122 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night to tie the losing-streak record previously set by the Philadelphia 76ers, who dropped 28 straight between the end of the 2014-15 season and the start of the 2015-16 season.
Where does Pistons’ losing streak rank in sports history?
Before the victory over Toronto, the Pistons (3-29) last won a game Oct. 28, downing the Chicago Bulls 118-102 in the third game of the season. The victory gave Williams, who signed a six-year deal this offseason that could pay nearly $100 million, his only winning record leading Detroit — improving to 2-1.
How the Pistons snapped their streak
For the first time in a long time, Detroit was solid throughout 48 minutes. It won three of four quarters and lost the third quarter by only four points. The Pistons made over 85 percent of their 25-plus free-throw attempts, which has not been the case often in recent weeks. Detroit was nowhere close to its season average of 17 turnovers. The Pistons were steady and never had a disastrous stretch throughout the game, and it paid off in the form of a victory. — James L. Edwards III, Pistons beat writer
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Significance of the win
With the weight of the losing streak off the Pistons’ shoulders, Detroit has a chance to not have itself be defined by this historic skid. The Pistons have played better basketball as of late despite the results and are about to embark on a West Coast trip that could be tougher. The Orlando Magic started last season with a 5-20 record and finished the year with over 30 wins. The Pistons need to start building the momentum for next season. — Edwards
Could this be a reason for optimism?
I don’t know about optimism, but getting the weight off their shoulders could help the Pistons win a basketball game more often than just once every two months. The stress of the next loss not being a history note will, surely, allow everyone to exhale a bit. I don’t think Detroit will turn around and make a postseason run or anything, but I could see the Pistons grabbing a win or two over the next two weeks just from relieving the stress. — Edwards
(Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)
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