The owners of the worst record in the NBA last season at 17-65, the Detroit Pistons were dealt a brutal loss in May when they lost out on the Victor Wembanyama Sweepstakes and dropped from the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft to No. 5 selection. Thanks to that development, the Spurs were able to select Wemby at No. 1 overall and the Pistions were left to select Ausar Thompson at No. 5. It hasn’t worked out great for San Antonio as the Spurs are just 4-25 this season, but it’s worked out even worse for the Pistons as they are just 2-28 this season and have lost an NBA-record 27 straight games after falling to the Brooklyn Nets 118-112 on Tuesday.
If Vegas is to believed, that streak will extend to 28 games, as the Pistons are heavy underdogs on Thursday to the Boston Celtics, who have the best record in the NBA at 23-6 after beating up on the Lakers 126-115 on Christmas Day following back-to-back wins over the Clippers and Kings. Detroit, on the other hand, won back-to-back games against the Hornets and Bulls before losing to the Thunder to start their historic losing streak. (The Pistons’ loss to OKC was before Halloween.)
At this point, the problem for Detroit is that their losing streak has extended so long that no NBA team, no matter how scrubby, is going to want to be the one that breaks it. Would you want to be the team that loses to the biggest all-time losers in the history of the NBA? Didn’t think so. That’s going to be a big problem for the Pistons, who got 41 points from Cade Cunningham in their loss to the Nets. Those points are going to be tough to come by against Boston as Celtics’ opponents have averaged 114.7 points per game over their past 10 contests. In contrast, Detroit’s foes have averaged 126.2 points over their last 10 games. It might get ugly.
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Of course, Detroit’s losing streak may end tonight against Boston as the Celtics have been known to blow games they should win. Heading into last year’s All-Star break facing this very same Pistons team, the Celtics, who had won 11-of-12 games and were riding a nine-game winning streak, lost to Detroit when they allowed Jerami Grant score 11 fourth-quarter points on the way to helping his team snap their eight-game losing streak. Grant won’t be there to help the Pistons tonight as he now plays for the Trail Blazers, but Detroit beating Boston is 100% on the table (and might make for a profitable long-shot bet).
However, the Pistons losing to Boston tonight and to the rest of the NBA for the foreseeable future is also a very possible reality, if for no other reason than that Detroit has had a particularly rough go of it lately as a sports town in the past two decades. After all, Detroit now owns MLB’s worst season (2003 Tigers), co-owns the NFL’s worst season (2008 Lions) and co-owns the NHL’s worst season (2020 Red Wings). And as of now, the Pistons are on pace for six wins, the fewest in NBA history. When the Lions are your top team, you probably have a problem.