Cavs Spoil Bojan Bogdanovic’s Season Debut, Extend Pistons Historic Losing Streak to 17 Games

The hot starts and cold finishes that the Detroit Pistons have become accustomed to left the team with an insurmountable deficit, and this time, it was the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers who sealed the game with a late 10-2 run to push the Pistons’ historic losing streak to 17 games and a 110-101 loss at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 2.

The Pistons are in the midst of their longest single-season losing streak and the team’s second-longest overall losing streak, which saw them lose 21 games over the course of two seasons (the end of the 1979-80 season and the beginning of the 1980-81 season).

The Pistons established their pick-and-roll game early between Cade Cunningham and second-year big man Jalen Duren. The duo scored 14 points and connect on three lob dunks within the first five minutes of the game, helping the Pistons off to an early 17-12 lead on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.

“I thought the first group was pretty good. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on the bench. Overall, we still had some timely turnovers and some possessions that didn’t look that great, where we couldn’t execute and get a shot. That certainly hurt us. Look at the points we gave them [from] turnovers,” said Pistons Head Coach Monty Williams.

Sharpshooting small forward Bojan Bogdanovic came into the contest just over halfway through the first quarter and his impact was felt immediately. After not playing all season due to a calf injury suffered ahead of training camp, Bogdanovic knocked down his first shot attempt to extend the Pistons lead. Bogdanovic finished 22 points, two rebounds, and 2 assists, on 7-of-15 shooting and 3-of-9 from three-point range.

After the game, Bogdanovic said he felt good physically, but mentally, the loss – and the losing streak – has been tough to endure.

Cunningham was well on his way to a triple-double after logging seven points, six assists, and five rebounds in his 10 minutes of action in the first stanza. Bogdanovic added seven first-quarter points off the bench, and Duren, who was sidelined with two fouls after just seven minutes, put up eight points in the period to help lead to a 30-24 Pistons lead. Cunningham would finish the game with 23 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, while Duren notched a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double in 30 minutes.

With Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Duren on the bench to start the second quarter, the Pistons offense turned cold and the Cavs were able to capitalize, going on a 9-0 run to take a 37-34 lead. With the trio back on the floor, Duren was able to break the Cavs’ streak with a bucket assisted by Ivey. Two plays later, Duren took Jarret Allen off the dribble for a thunderous dunk that kept the Pistons within a point of the Cavs at 39-38.

Cleveland’s all-star guard Donovan Mitchell didn’t let up, fueling a second lengthy run – this time reeling off eight unanswered points en route to a 47-39 lead. Back-to-back threes by Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart keep the halftime deficit manageable, but the Cavs led 54-48 at the end of the first half.

The Pistons started the second half the way they started the first – on a Duren-Cunningham connection. Only this time, it was Duren collecting an offensive rebound and kicking it to a wide-open Cunningham, who knocked down the three to give the Pistons their first lead, 58-56, since early in the second quarter. Duren followed up the assist by flushing a lob from Hayes.

A seesaw third quarter saw the Cavs’ Max Strus and Bogdanovic exchange three-pointers within the final 50 seconds to tie the game at 82 apiece, before Cavs center Jarrett Allen converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Cavs a three-point lead, 85-82, to end the quarter.

“Looking at our defense tonight, I thought our defense was pretty good. The points we gave them, all turnovers, really hurt us. That’s something I have to figure out, the group coming into the game. I have to get a bit more efficient with that group and make sure we get a shot and execute our stuff,” Williams added.

The Cavs roared out the gates in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, and the teams exchanged scores after the Cavs went up 10, 92-82 with 10:20 remaining in the contest. The Pistons seemed to get a temporary jolt of energy after Duren got fouled hard by Cleveland’s reserve power forward Georges Niang. After the foul, Duren was held back by Mitchell, but he broke loose from Mitchell and exchanged words and a stare-down with Niang. At that point, the Pistons closed the gap to 100-97, but that was as close as the game would get for the home team. The Pistons failed to score over the next few moments and Cleveland capitalized time and time again, going up 106-97 off an Allen putback to all-but seal the game and shut the door on any chance of a Pistons comeback. A few last-minute scores pushed the final to 110-101.

“We just have to stay calm when we are in the black holes that we have every game. For a couple minutes, even tonight, we were up seven when I made a wide-open three on the left side. Then Georges Niang hit a three on the other side and we kind of … lost our energy and focus and we allowed them to go on another run,” Bogdanovic said. “So we’ve gotta stay together and more focused and maybe slow the game down.”

The Pistons will try to end their historic 17-game losing streak Wednesday, Dec. 6, when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies at LCA.

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