NBA

Pistons and Spurs suffer franchise-record losing runs

By Sports Desk December 12, 2023

Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams conceded a franchise-record losing streak "hurts like you can't believe", although the San Antonio Spurs face a similar plight of their own.

Williams' Pistons were 131-123 losers against the Indiana Pacers on Monday as Detroit fell to their 20th straight loss in NBA.

That marks the worst single-season losing run in Detroit's franchise history and the longest in NBA records since the Houston Rockets fell to 20 straight defeats in 2020-21.

The Pistons have lost 21 in a row before, although that came between the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of the 1980-81 campaign, but Williams was somewhat encouraged with his team's showing against the Pacers.

"As much as this losing hurts us, and it hurts like you can't believe, I see a lot of growth," Williams said.

"I'm encouraged by some of the things we saw tonight. We just need to build on them."

Williams suggested the Pistons' approach towards halftime was their downfall as the Pacers' Bennedict Mathurin added five of his 30-point game in a 9-0 run to close the second quarter.

"I thought the way we closed to half-time was something that kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit," Williams added.

"We're still learning that everything we do in the meat of the game has an effect on the end."

Cade Cunningham and Ausar Thompson were rare bright sparks, scoring 23 and 20 points respectively for the Pistons, whose 20-game run equalled the sixth-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history,

San Antonio have endured similar woes, too, setting their own franchise record after a 17th consecutive defeat following a 93-82 at the hands of the Rockets.

Victor Wembanyama led the way with 15 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks but was 1-of-6 on his three-point attempts for the Spurs, whose offense went missing in their time of need.

"They played their ass off. They played a great game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You've got to make a shot in the NBA. You can't shoot five for 41 from three.

"They did a hell of a job defensively, in that regard. Really proud of them. But just feel badly that it's hard to know what to do when you're missing that many shots. It just makes it very, very difficult."

Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell combined to go for just 1-of-18 from deep, although the latter believes San Antonio's fortunes will soon change.

"If we could have made a couple more shots, it would've been a totally different game," Vassell said. "I like where we're going.

"We were trending in the right direction. If we would've made some shots, I think it would've been a totally different game."

Johnson echoed his team-mate's sentiment, although with an added sense of frustration after the Spurs' 82 points set a record low for any NBA side in a game this season.

"We know that we put in the work for it. We believe in each other and I wouldn't want to do it any other group than the group we got," Johnson said.

"We are a young team. We had great opportunities tonight and we had great opportunities at other games. We didn't really hit shots so we know we got to kind of hang our hats on the defensive end.

"I'm excited to get back out there Wednesday and put another great performance team-wise and hopefully get [a] win."

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