Pistons fall to Nets again, set NBA single-season record with 27th straight loss

The Pistons haven't won since Oct. 28, which was almost two full months ago

The Detroit Pistons have finally made history.

The Pistons made NBA history Tuesday night with their 118-112 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The loss marked the 27th consecutive defeat for the Pistons, which set a new NBA single-season record. That, of course, led to more very loud "sell the team" chants at Little Caesars Arena from upset Pistons fans.

“Nobody wants this kind of thing attached to them,” head coach Monty Williams said after the game. “I was brought in here to change this thing, and it’s probably the most on me than anybody. … It’s where we are. That’s the reality of the situation.”

The Pistons haven’t won a game since Oct. 28. That win over the Chicago Bulls was actually the team’s second win in their first three games to kick off the 2023-24 campaign. Yet that was almost two months ago — which was before the World Series had even ended and before the college basketball season had kicked off.

The Pistons’ losing streak is already among the worst in American professional sports. The Pistons had already surpassed the longest losing streaks in MLB, the NHL, the WNBA and the post-merger NFL. Only college football (Northwestern lost 34 straight games from 1979-82) and women’s college basketball (Chicago State lost 59 straight games from 2016-18) have worse losing streaks.

While things are bad in Detroit, the Pistons haven’t yet set the NBA’s all-time record. That honor goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, who once lost 28 straight games. That losing streak was set over two seasons, however, when the team lost 10 games to close out the 2014-15 season and then lost 18 straight to open the next.

Cade Cunningham's 41 points weren't enough to finally get a win for the Pistons.
Cade Cunningham's 41 points weren't enough to finally get a win for the Pistons. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today)

Cade Cunningham's 41 not enough to lift Pistons past Nets

The Pistons got off to a great start Tuesday night. They opened the game on a 9-1 outburst to kick off a 22-8 run, which seemed to catch the Nets off guard. Yet by halftime, Brooklyn had taken a seven-point lead.

While Cade Cunningham kept the Pistons in it in the third quarter — he dropped 16 of his 41 points in the period — the Nets used a 13-0 run spanning nearly 3 1/2 minutes late in the fourth quarter to pull away. Then after Cunningham cut the game to just two points with 57 seconds left off a layup, Dorian Finney-Smith drilled a contested corner 3-pointer over Cunningham to keep the Pistons at bay and seal the six-point win.

“[Cunningham] talked passionately about the things we need to do and how everybody has to be in the boat and accountable for where we are. You have to be real about where we are,” Williams said.

Cunningham led the Pistons with 41 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the loss. He shot 15-of-21 from the field and scored all but four of his points in the second half. Cunningham is also the first Pistons player to have two 40-point games in a single month since Jerry Stackhouse did so in 2001. Bojan Bogdanović added 23 points on Tuesday, and Alec Burks finished with 15 points off the bench.

Cam Johnson led the Nets with 24 points after he shot 9-of-13 from the field. Mikal Bridges added 21 points, and Cam Thomas finished with 17 points. The Nets shot 50% from the field as a unit, but shot just 62% from the free-throw line. The Nets previously defeated the Pistons on Saturday.

After fans at Little Caesars Arena chanted “sell the team” following their 25th straight loss, owner Tom Gores vowed “change.”

“We expected a lot more. But we have to be real and then there’s some things that hadn’t been working with the makeup of the team,” he said. “Accountability has to be held. There might be additions, you know, to staff and all that stuff, but what’s for sure is change is coming.”

Whether that means splitting with Williams — who is in his first season with the team after he signed (at the time) the largest coaching contract in league history to join the Pistons — or general manager Troy Weaver remains to be seen.

Regardless, the Pistons will have to keep going. They can tie the 76ers’ all-time record Thursday night with a loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.