BOSTON — Unfortunately for the Detroit Pistons, history is not only written by the winners. And in coming agonizingly close to recording just one solitary win, a victory they probably should have gotten and deserved, the Pistons wrote their names in history with yet another defeat.
Despite owning a 21-point lead in the second quarter and a 19-point lead at halftime inside of the league’s toughest venue to win away from home, the Pistons were overtaken and eventually beaten by the Boston Celtics in overtime, 128-122, and, in going down to defeat, Detroit tied the all-time NBA record for the longest losing streak in league annals. Whatever psychological weight the team was burdened with going into tonight morphed into crisp, inspired basketball for large stretches of the game inside TD Garden.
Cade Cunningham, the 2022 No. 1 overall draft pick, had 22 points by intermission. Detroit went from shooting a more-than-respectable 52 percent in the first quarter to a scorching 73.7 percent in the second, with 10 of their 14 made baskets in the quarter coming off assists. That second quarter also saw Detroit hold Boston to 8-of-21 shooting as a team, and they forced All-NBA superstar Jayson Tatum into missing nine of his 14 shots from the field in the first half.
The Celtics woke up in the second half, then took the lead. But instead of getting rolled over amidst the roar of raucous (and anxious) TD Garden crowd, Detroit fought back … and tied the game with 4.6 seconds in regulation, on a putback by Bojan Bogdanovic, to force overtime.
All those positives, and yet the same result: defeat. And of the 27 losses that immediately preceded it, tonight’s might have elicited the most pride … and the most pain.
“As bad as they hurt right now, I hurt for them,” first-year Pistons head coach Williams said. “But I told them: `If we bring that kind of toughness and execution — minus the turnovers — we’re not just going to win one game. We’re going to put something together.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Boston-area photographer Erica Denhoff. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 46 pictures in total.