Detroit loses 28 straight, ties record

Detroit loses 28 straight, ties record
Boxing SunStar File photo

THE Pistons’ 28th loss in a row was unlike any of the many, many other defeats that came before it in what is now tied for the longest losing streak in NBA history.

The result was the same.

Detroit opened a 21-point lead against the league-best Boston Celtics on Thursday night (Friday morning, Dec. 29, 2023 PH time) and then rallied from a six-point deficit in the final minutes to force overtime before the Celtics recovered to win 128-122. It was the first time all season the Pistons led by more than 20 points, and the first time they had gotten to overtime in the two months since their last win.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the group, the way they bring it,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said. “They’ve heard all the stuff about our team and they just keep bringing it. I know it’s going to pay off.”

Detroit fell to 2-29 and matched the “Trust the Process” Philadelphia 76ers with 28 consecutive losses; the Pistons need a victory at home against Toronto on Saturday night to avoid breaking the NBA record for longest losing streak.

In major North American sports, only the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals, who lost 29 straight from 1942-45, have had a longer losing streak.

“I’m not interested in just winning one more game this year -- you know what I mean? To stop this. That would be soft, in my opinion,” said Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, who scored 22 points in the first half but missed a potential-winning 3-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation.

“Our goals are a lot higher than that. We have what it takes to win a game, that’s nothing. But to put games together, to find our system, find what’s clicking and allow us to sustain winning. That’s all we’re looking for.”

Boston erased a 66-45, second-quarter lead with a 19-5 run in the third that turned a 15-point deficit into a 77-76 game. Kristaps Porzingis had eight of his season-high 35 points in a 10-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into a 106-100 Boston lead in the final two minutes of regulation.

Jaden Ivey scored six straight points for Detroit to tie it and then, after Jayson Tatum was credited with a layup on a replay-confirmed goaltending call, Bojan Bogdanovic made a putback on Cunningham’s missed 3 to send it to OT.

But Derrick White scored 10 of his 23 points in the extra period and Porzingis had six in the overtime — dunking after a full-court pass from Tatum and then sinking a pair of free throws to make it 125-117.

“As bad as they hurt right now, I hurt for them,” Williams said. “But I told them: `If we bring that kind of toughness and execution — minus the turnovers — we’re not just going to win one game. We’re going to put something together.”

Tatum had 31 points and 10 assists for Boston, which won its fourth straight and its ninth in the last 10 games. The Celtics, who were without Jaylen Brown, are 15-0 at home this season and have the league’s best record, 24-6.

“We’re on the same level as all these teams were playing against,” said Cunningham, who had 31 points and nine assists. “There’s no team that I’ve ever come across in the NBA where I felt like I was going into a slaughterhouse. I’ve never felt like that in my life, going into a basketball game.

“So every game we should be able to fight teams and impose our will on them. We did that early on. We kind of let go of the rope a little bit in the third quarter. But there’s a lot of growth, and something we can learn from and definitely take to the next game.”

Ivey had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jalen Duren had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Bogdanovich had 17 points and 12 boards.

The Pistons set the NBA record for most consecutive losses in a season Tuesday night with their 27th in a row, a 118-112 loss to Brooklyn. The Sixers’ streak stretched over two seasons, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

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