Detroit Pistons end historic 28-game losing streak with victory over Toronto Raptors

The Detroit Pistons avoided moving into sole possession of the longest losing streak in NBA history after putting an end to their 28-game skid with a 129-127 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit was on the verge of not only making NBA history but also of matching the longest losing streak in major American professional sports history owned by the Chicago Cardinals, who lost 29 straight games in the NFL between 1942 and 1945.

Saturday’s win marked the Pistons’ first victory since October 28.

It was a competitive game from the start but a 14-4 run halfway through the second quarter helped the Pistons take an eight-point lead into halftime. Similar to Thursday’s game against the NBA-best Boston Celtics, Detroit’s lead disappeared in the second half after Toronto managed to come back and trade leads with the Pistons in the third quarter.

The Pistons, however, held strong and regained a double-digit lead when Jaden Ivey made a three-pointer to give them a 110-99 lead with under six minutes left in the fourth quarter. The short-manned Raptors responded with an 8-2 run by Scottie Barnes to get within five points and remain within striking distance.

It appeared as if the Raptors would complete the rally when guard Gary Trent Jr. made a three-pointer with two seconds left in the game to cut the score to 127-129 but the team’s comeback effort came up just short.

Former NBA No.1 pick Cade Cunningham finished with 30 points and 12 assists, while Jalen Duren added 18 points and 17 rebounds to power the Pistons to their first victory.

“We just kept battling. It’s been a long, long stretch – all these losses – but I’m just happy to be a part of a group of guys that don’t quit and bring it every day and still stay positive and uplift each other,” Cunningham said after the game.

“It’s been weighing on us heavy everywhere we go for two months, which is unreal… for it to have been that long,” Cunningham added. “It was a long time coming, something that we’ve been pushing for for so long and to finally get over that hump, we’re not trying to go back. Now it really begins where we see who we’re going to be and if we’re going to continue to play with that same fire that we’ve been playing with.”

The Pistons had the benefit of playing against a Raptors team competing without three players after the team agreed to trade star forward OG Anunoby, guard Malachi Flynn and forward Precious Achiuwa to the New York Knicks earlier on Saturday in exchange for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a second-round draft pick.

“I’ve been in a ton of locker rooms my whole life and that’s a first for me to have that kind of… it wasn’t relief it was just like thank God, you know, finally.” Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams said about the victory after the game. “Guys were screaming I was almost in tears and I’m just so happy for our guys, I’m happy for everybody in the locker room.”

On Thursday, the Pistons dropped their 28th straight game after losing to the Celtics to tie the record-holder Philadelphia 76ers – who lost 28 straight across two seasons from the 2014-15 season to the 2015-16 season.

The previous single-season losing streak record belonged to the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 76ers who both lost 26 straight games during their respective seasons.

The Pistons will next play on the road against the Houston Rockets on Monday as they look to win a second straight game.

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