NEW YORK — The Detroit Pistons became the first team in eight years to go without a win for an entire month of an NBA season on Thursday night.
But despite losing their 16th straight game, a 118-112 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, coach Monty Williams and his young Pistons team saw the performance — on the heels of an unexpected loss at home to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. – As a step in the right direction.
“I saw the fight and resilience that we can build,” Williams said after the Pistons fell to the worst team in the NBA by a score of 17-2 this season, becoming the first team since the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015-2016 season, to lose 16 consecutive games in the NBA. on her”. November 2015, remaining winless for an entire calendar month. “This is a game we can build on.
“I don’t care about moral victories. I don’t know where that came from. It doesn’t make sense. But that was something — that game, that score, that energy, that production from our group — [that] It is something I am proud of. “That’s the kind of competitive advantage we have to play with every night.”
Coming off a 26-point loss at the hands of the Lakers on Wednesday, Detroit held on with the Knicks (11-7) throughout this game and even took a lead in the fourth quarter before a long scoring drought sent the Knicks on their way to second place. Put the game out of reach.
It solved some familiar problems for Detroit, including being outscored by 9 points at the free throw line, as well as allowing New York to have the same margin on second-chance points and committing 20 turnovers. However, Williams said guard Cade Cunningham’s message to the team when he returned to the locker room was: “We’ve got our swag back.”
“Yeah, I think it’s something we can definitely build on,” said Cunningham, who finished with 31 points and eight assists, but committed seven of those 20 turnovers. “[Wednesday against the Lakers]You don’t have a chance in this league to play like that. But today, this has to be our baseline, our bottom line, and we can build on that.”
In an attempt to turn things around, Williams also made some significant moves in the team’s starting lineup, removing both Jaden Ivey and Ausar Thompson — the team’s last two No. 5 picks, the latter of whom had started every game. This season until Thursday evening – and they will be replaced by Killian Hayes and Isaiah Lever.
Both moves were made for a purpose, Williams said. Hayes over Ivey had to move Cunningham off the ball more, while Livers over Thompson was created to give Detroit more space on the floor.
“When you lose that many games, you have to make changes,” Williams said. “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned. We will look at every possible lineup to give ourselves a chance to win games and grow as a team. So there may be more changes. “We’re just going to do everything we can to put the guys in a position to win. And we had a chance tonight.”
Both Ivey and Thompson said they have not changed their approach whether starting or coming off the bench.
“Not at all,” Ivy said. “It doesn’t change my mindset at all. Just go in, and try to do my job to the best of my abilities. I carry myself with a positive mindset throughout everything I go through in life. I don’t think it’s going to change that bothers me too much. It’s part of my journey.”
More changes are likely on the way as well, with veteran Bojan Bogdanovic likely to make his season debut on Saturday at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bogdanovic, who has yet to play due to a calf injury, averaged 21.6 points per game last season while shooting nearly 49% overall and 41% from 3-point range.
The 34-year-old Croatian forward will give Detroit a much-needed boost offensively and spacing on the perimeter as the Pistons look to finally get a win on the board after tying for the second-most losses in a single month without a win in the league. League history, according to ESPN statistics and information.
“I think that will give us more options to not only play offense, but he’s a guy that fights on defense and I think that settles the roster a little bit more,” Williams said. “And then your guys are not playing those long, tense minutes like they have played this season.”
However, there will still be plenty of young players playing heavy minutes once Bogdanovic returns to the lineup. But even as the losses continue to mount, Cunningham said it’s his job to try to make sure his teammates keep pushing in the right direction.
“I think just trying to grow an inch every day,” Cunningham said. “Every day you get better, go home tonight, rest up and be ready to work for the next day. We just have to stay the course and keep each other going and keep each other afloat and rely on each other.”
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