The Detroit Pistons narrowly avoided history as they ended their 28-match losing streak with 129-127 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Their 28th defeat to the Boston Celtics on Friday had equaled the longest losing run in NBA history held by the Philadelphia 76ers. Detroit’s previous win came on Oct. 28 over the Chicago Bulls, over 2 months ago.
One more loss and the Pistons would’ve matched the longest losing streak in major US professional sports history. The record is currently held by the NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, who had 29 losses in a row between the years of 1942 and 1945.
Cade Cunningham top scored for the Pistons with 30 points to go along with 12 assists. All five starters hit double figures for Detroit. Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 points, while Jalen Duran contributed 18 points and 17 rebounds and Kevin Knox II made 17 points.
For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam had 35 points on 14-24 shooting and Dennis Schroder had 30 points and nine dimes. The Toronto bench however had very little production, only accounting for 12 of the 129 points.
The Raptors traded OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks earlier in the day. They received RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in return but they were not available on Saturday. The Raptors are now 12-20 on the season and look like they are attempting a complete rehaul with the big trade.
The Pistons shot 50% from the field and 42.9% from the three point line. The hosts outrebounded the Raptors 41-33 but had four more turnovers. The real difference in the game came from the free throw line, where Detroit was able to go 35-40. Cunningham was a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe.
Despite the win, the Pistons look all but eliminated from the playoffs at just 3-29 on the season. They will be looking to string together a few wins to salvage what could be one of the worst NBA seasons in history.
Next up, the Pistons will play the Houston Rockets next on Monday night, while the Raptors will face off against the Cavaliers.
The game started off relatively even with both teams jockeying for the lead in the first quarter. It wasn’t until the second quarter that Pistons were able to open up a meaningful lead, ending the half up by 8, 52-44.
After halftime the Raptors came out strong, as Siakam and Trent scored 24 points in eight minutes to put Toronto ahead 75-74. Siakam ended up scoring 20 of Toronto’s 42 points in the quarter and was able to get Cunningham in foul trouble with four fouls.
The Pistons however kept the lead going into the fourth, 90-86 as neither team was able to pull away. Finally, back-to-back 3-pointers by Cunningham and Jaden Ivey made it 110-99 with 5:50 to go as the Pistons took control.
Toronto responded with an 8-2 run which included six points from Scottie Barnes. A Cunningham jumper however made it 114-107 and then the Pistons got three straight stops against Siakam. Another timely jumper by Cunningham moved the lead to nine with 1:34 to play.
Down the stretch, a Siakam 3-pointer made it 126-122 with 17 seconds left but the Pistons were able to clinch the game from the free throw line.
Other NBA Storylines
Elsewhere in the NBA, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers lost 108-106 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The loss came on James’ 39th birthday despite a solid 26 point performance by the superstar. Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards ended up scoring 31 points in 38 minutes to lead the hosts to victory.
Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers became the first player in 33 years to score at least 20 points and 20 assists in consecutive games. He led the Indiana Pacers to a 140-126 win over the New York Knicks with 22 points and 23 assists. By doing so, he joined Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and John Stockton as only the third player in NBA history to achieve the feat.