DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have made NBA history.
Detroit became the league’s first team to lose 27 straight games in a season, falling 118-112 to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.
“Is it heavy? Yeah, I would imagine for everybody it is,” said Pistons first-year coach Monty Williams, a former NBA coach of the year. “Nobody wants this kind of thing attached to them.
“I was brought in here to change this thing. It’s probably the most on me than anybody. Players are playing their hearts out. I got to get them in a position where they don’t feel tight or heavy.”
The Nets beat the Pistons on Saturday in Brooklyn, handing them their 26th consecutive defeat to match the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers for the most losses in a row within one season.
Detroit no longer shares the unwanted mark.
Next up is the overall record of 28 straight losses, set by the Philadelphia 76ers from late in the 2014-15 season through early 2015-16.
At least matching the record seems likely with a game Thursday night against the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on the road.
The game against Brooklyn, like the season, started with some hope.
Detroit led 9-1 and had a 14-point lead in the first quarter before poor shooting, defense coupled with turnovers paved the way for Brooklyn to extend the Motor City’s misery.
The Nets outscored the Pistons by 13 in the second quarter to lead 61-54 at halftime.
Cade Cunningham scored 18 of his 41 points in the third quarter and made a 3-pointer early in the fourth to give Detroit a 97-92 lead.
Just as fans who nearly filled Little Caesars Arena started cheering with passion heard at a playoff game, the Nets went on a 13-0 run to take the lead for good.
“I’ve been through tough playoff losses, and this is relative to that,” said Williams, who led Phoenix and New Orleans to postseason appearances. “When you lose a playoff game, when you get eliminated, this kind of feels like that.”
Cunningham did his part to give the team a shot to finally win, but he didn’t have much help and even he had a turnover late in the game that appeared to be unforced.
The No. 1 pick overall from the 2021 NBA draft had a message for his teammates in the locker room after the latest loss.
“Don’t jump off the boat,” he said. “We’ve got to stay together. Right now is the easiest time to stand off and be on your own, but we need to continue to lean on each other and continue to push each other, and hold each other accountable more than ever now.”
Bojan Bogdanovic did score 23 points before fouling out and after leaving Cam Johnson wide open for a 3-pointer that gave Brooklyn a six-point lead with 1:40 to go.
“We had a few breakdowns,” Williams said. “It just cost us.”
Jaden Ivey, the No. 5 pick overall last year, missed 9 of 12 shots as the Nets backed off him and welcomed the guard to shoot.
In the final minute, fed-up fans started to chant, “Sell the team! Sell the team!” though Pistons owner Tom Gores was not in the building to hear it.
Gores recently spoke with reporters remotely, and passed along his apologies to the fans for the disappointing season while standing by Williams and general manager Troy Weaver.
“Change is coming,” he said. “I’m just saying in terms of Monty, Troy, they’ll be in place.”