The Detroit Pistons put up a fight against the league-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday night, but despite opening the first half of the game with their biggest lead of the season, they suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to tie the NBA’s all-time record for the longest losing streak.
The Pistons, who earned their 27th loss of the season to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday to set the NBA record for most consecutive losses in a single season, were hoping to avoid further disasters when they traveled to TD Garden, where the Celtics have been undefeated this season.
“I’ve been in the league for a while and I’ve seen teams give in to circumstances that are less than what we’re dealing with and that was admirable,” head coach Monty Williams said after the game.
The Pistons kept on pace with the Celtics in the first quarter and began to pull away late in the second. They took a 21-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half – the first time all season that they led by more than 20 points.
They entered the second half with a 19-point lead that Boston quickly made up for, and the Pistons then rallied from a six-point deficit in the final minutes to force overtime. Eventually, the Celtics would recover with a 128-122 victory.
“Obviously, we had a tough third quarter, and the ability to fight back from that and have an even fourth was tremendous,” Williams continued. “I hurt for them. We feel like we just are getting so close to not just winning one game, but winning a lot of games if we play that way versus most teams in the league.”
The loss tied the Pistons with the Philadelphia 76ers for the NBA’s longest losing streak with 28 consecutive losses (over two seasons.)
“We’re on the same level as all these teams were playing against,” said Detroit guard Cade 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.”
Williams praised his team’s resiliency despite the “noise.”
“I see it every day. With everything that this team has been through – we’ve lost a lot of games, everybody knows that – they bring a spirit and integrity and toughness to the gym every single day. They hear everything that people have to say about them and us because they’re on social media, and it doesn’t sway them from doing their jobs but also playing to the level and standard that we talk about every day. You know, we can’t do anything about the noise. We can control how we approach our jobs, and as bad as they hurt right now, I hurt for them.”
The Pistons will need a win at home against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday to avoid setting the NBA record.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.