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Detroit Pistons end a historic losing streak with a win against the Toronto Raptors

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket between Gary Trent Jr. #33 and Jakob Poeltl #19 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday in Detroit.
Gregory Shamus
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Getty Images
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket between Gary Trent Jr. #33 and Jakob Poeltl #19 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday in Detroit.

Updated December 30, 2023 at 9:46 PM ET

After a long run of bitter defeats, the Detroit Pistons ended their streak of losses on Saturday night — narrowly avoiding setting a new record for the longest losing streak in the history of the NBA.

The Pistons beat the Toronto Raptors at a home game in Little Caesars Arena with a score of 129-127. The win prevented the Detroit team from breaking the previous 28-game losing streak set by the Philadelphia 76ers across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The Pistons had matched the 76ers' record on Thursday.

At a press conference after the Saturday game, Pistons coach Monty Williams said he had never seen a team so overjoyed after a game.

"It wasn't relief, it was just like, 'thank God, finally.' And guys were screaming. I was almost in tears. And I'm just so happy for our guys, happy for everybody in the locker room," Williams said.

He added that he was proud of the players for their continuous determination to improve despite the series of losses.

"I think people may have thought they were OK with losing, but they came in every day with a great spirit and they wanted answers and they came in wanting to learn," he said.

If the Pistons had lost, the Detroit team would have been neck and neck with the Chicago Cardinals, who currently hold the longest losing streak in all of the four major North American professional sports leagues after collecting 29 consecutive losses over four seasons from 1942 to 1945.

The victory against the Raptors is only the third win in the 2023-24 season for the Detroit team, which is one of the youngest in the NBA with a majority of players under 25.

The Pistons' cascade of losses turned historic after Detroit fell to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesdayand became the first team in the NBA to lose 27 consecutive games in a single season.

Then, on Thursday, the Detroit team lost to the Boston Celtics in a close game of 128-122 and reached their 28th loss.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.