The Detroit Pistons have done it: They have won a basketball game.
For the first time since October 28, the Pistons earned a victory after surviving a gritty game against the Toronto Raptors, 129-127.
Detroit avoided monumental infamy by finally snapping a 28-game losing skid, which was tied for the worst losing spell in NBA history.
The Pistons were in a losing streak, yes, but it wasn’t like they were getting blown out of the gym from the get go; they were competitive throughout games until they faltered at the end. Their past six games have been decided by just 10 points or less, and it was only a matter of time before they could break through.
Detroit coach Monty Williams said prior to the game that the Pistons have been knocking on that door for victory — they just needed to find a way to finally blow it open — and they did last night.
“I’ve been in a ton of locker rooms... That’s a first for me… Guys were screaming. I was almost in tears,” Williams said after celebrating in the locker room.
It took a dominant game from Cade Cunningham, who had 30 points, 12 assists and 0 turnovers, to ultimately put the Pistons over the top. He became only the third player this season with the same numbers, joining Nikola Jokic and Tyrese Haliburton. Cunningham also became the first Piston to have a 30-10 game without a turnover since Chauncey Billups in 2008.
“Tough times brought us together even more..." Cunningham said. "It's still early. [Monty] just got here. I'm still young in the league, it's only gonna continue to grow."
The 22-year-old is glad that the nightmare is over, but stressed there is still a lot of basketball left to be played.
“I think moments like that are important to know how to win games," Cunningham said. "I’m just happy to be a part of a group of guys that don’t quit, stay positive and uplift each other.”
Center Jalen Duren backed Cunningham up with 18 points and 17 rebounds as the Pistons had six players in double digits.
In the end, Detroit’s 33 bench points (Toronto had 12) and eight-rebound edge (41 against Toronto’s 33) was enough to propel them to victory.
What’s Next For The Pistons?
With the monkey now off their backs, Detroit hopes to build off this win and head in the right direction.
The next thing they probably want to do is avoid the worst single-season record of all-time (82 games), which is held by the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73) and the worst single-season win percentage, which is held by the 2012 Charlotte Bobcats (.106).
Despite all the losing, Detroit has young stars who have played well during these dark days. Cunningham, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, is playing like an All-Star — averaging 23.5 points and 7.3 assists.
His pick-and-roll partner Duren is also blossoming into one of the top young big men in the league. Duren’s chemistry with Cunningham is gradually maturing and will only get better as the seasons go on.
Already imposing physically at just 20 years old, Duren has also shown he lives for tough moments after confidently sinking two pressure-packed free throws late in the fourth — which is rare for a big man.
And rookie Ausar Thompson, even after recently slowing down following Bojan Bogdanovic’s return from injury, has shown that he has All-Star potential after going on a tear to start the year.
Combine that with assets to make moves and a players' coach in Monty Williams, the Pistons hope to be in a position to turn it around.