Pistons losing streak ends: How Detroit avoided NBA infamy with win over Raptors

After 63 days, the streak is finally over.

In their last game of 2023, the Pistons put an end to their NBA record-tying 28-game losing streak with a 129-127 win over the Raptors. Detroit’s win over Toronto is the team’s first win since defeating Chicago on Oct. 28 — three games into the season.

By beating the Raptors, the Pistons avoided NBA infamy as their losing streak came to a halt at 28. Had Detroit lost on Saturday, it would be the sole owner of the longest skid in league history. Instead, it has a tie with the 76ers, who also lost 28 straight between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

With the weight of the basketball world — and NBA history — weighing on them, the Pistons emerged victorious. Here’s how they did it.

MORE: How Wingstop became synonymous with Pistons’ historic losing streak

How Pistons ended 28-game losing streak

Cade Cunningham leads the way

It starts with Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, has had his fair share of highs and lows during the last three years as Detroit’s franchise player. And while the losing streak has been one of the lowest lows, Cunningham has often done all he could to keep his team afloat.

Against Toronto, Cunningham did more than enough to lift his team to victory, finishing with 30 points and 12 assists and no turnovers while shooting 45 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and a perfect 100 percent from the free throw line. Even more impressive is that 26 of Cunningham’s 30 points came in the second half.

Balanced Pistons attack

With Cunningham leading the way, the Pistons followed. Six different players finished in double figures, including second-year big man Jalen Duren, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds while Kevin Knox II hit timely shots and finished with 17 points.

As a team, Detroit shot 50 percent from the field and connected on 12 of its 28 3-point attempts.

Credit goes to the Pistons for getting over the hump but it’s worth acknowledging that they took advantage of a situation that benefitted them as well.

Shorthanded Raptors team

Toronto entered Little Caesars Arena on the second night of a back-to-back. On Friday, the Raptors went down to the wire in a narrow loss to the league-best Celtics.

In addition to obvious fatigue from the prior night, Toronto was down three players as earlier in the day, it completed a trade sending O.G. Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the Knicks in exchange for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a second-round pick.

With Toronto down three players, its rotation was limited and the team was fatigued from its rest disadvantage. The Raptors trailed by one at the end of the first, by eight at halftime and, despite scoring 83 points in the second half to make the Pistons sweat, couldn’t overcome their disadvantages.

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