HEADLINE

After ‘bad loss,’ Cavaliers aim to hang 17th straight defeat on Pistons

Field Level Media

December 01, 2023 at 11:06 pm.

When a team sets a franchise record for most consecutive losses in a single season, any signs of hope are welcome.

The Detroit Pistons took some positives from their 16th straight defeat — leaving them winless in November — at New York on Thursday. They will try to avoid extending the streak when they host Cleveland on Saturday.

After getting blown out by Indiana, Washington and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pistons gave the Knicks a tussle before succumbing, 118-112.

“I saw the fight and resiliency that we can build on,” coach Monty Williams said. “That’s a game that we can build on. Cade (Cunningham) said it when they came into the locker room, we got our swag back.”

Cunningham had 31 points and eight assists but also tied his season high with seven turnovers. As usual, the Pistons were playing catch-up most of the way. Their biggest lead was two points.

“The fight we showed off a back-to-back … I’m not into moral victories,” Williams said. “I don’t know where that came from. Doesn’t make sense. But that game, that output, that energy, production from our group is something that I’m proud of.

“That’s the kind of competitive edge that we have to play with every single night.”

Williams shook up the lineup, inserting forward Isaiah Livers and guard Killian Hayes. The team’s high lottery picks in 2022 and 2023 — Jaden Ivey and Ausar Thompson — saw their playing time reduced to 13 minutes apiece.

“When you lose this many games, you’ve got to make changes,” Williams said. “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned. We’ve got to look at every lineup possible to give ourselves a chance to win games and grow as a team.”

The Cavaliers have won the past six meetings between the Central Division clubs.

Cleveland has won six of its past nine games but the latest loss stung. The Cavs were defeated at home Thursday by Portland, 103-95. Cleveland led by 16 points in the first half but the Trail Blazers cut the deficit to six by halftime, then controlled the second half.

“It’s a bad loss,” guard Donovan Mitchell said. “Probably the worst loss of the season. I think we all hold ourselves accountable for that. I think we all felt it. Now there’s really nothing else to say.

“The way I’m feeling is the way everybody feels, and we’ve got to go out there and fix it. We let our foot off the gas.”

Despite home wins over Toronto and Atlanta in the previous two outings, the Cavs didn’t get a pass from their fans. The home crowd voiced its displeasure during the second half.

“It’s part of the game. I’m not one that’s anti-that,” Mitchell said. “You come in expecting to perform a certain way. We didn’t do that. That’s on us and at the end of the day, to prevent the boos, you play well and win the game. So that’s part of it. If you don’t play well, it’s what you get.”

Cleveland now begins a stretch where it plays five of six on the road. The game on Saturday begins a stretch for the Pistons in which they play four of five at home.

– Field Level Media