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Detroit Pistons lose 28th consecutive game after blowing 21-point lead

The Pistons are on track to have the worst record in NBA history, but a psychology professor says sometimes it's OK to lose.
Detroit Pistons lose 28th consecutive game after blowing 21-point lead
Posted at 5:19 AM, Dec 29, 2023

The Detroit Pistons have probably heard enough about breaking a certain record: the longest all-time single-season losing streak in NBA history — now 28 games.

In a hard-fought nail-biter that went into overtime Thursday night, the Pistons were ultimately defeated by the Boston Celtics 128-122. The Pistons once had a 21-point advantage over the Celtics, who happen to have the best win-loss record in the NBA. 

The 28th consecutive loss also tied the NBA's longest-ever losing streak, matching the 28-game losing streak by the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers. 

The Pistons, who now have a 2-29 record, are on pace to have the worst record in NBA history.

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Brad Galli is a Detroit native and sports director at Scripps News Detroit. He's been watching the losses pile up for weeks.

"It's not just one factor, it's the fact that this team is young. And they're not all progressing and taking that step like I think everybody hoped," Galli says. "And it's a worst-case scenario in every corner of the roster."

While losing can negatively affect the morale of an athlete, University of Las Vegas sports psychology professor Brad Donohue says losing also has its upsides. Defeat can teach us to learn from our mistakes, focus on the positives, and develop mental health skills to help cope with tough times, Donohue says.

It's especially important for kids to lose, Donohue says. At least every once in a while.

"We sometimes coddle our kids a little bit too much," says Donohue. "It's OK to lose, you know, and you learn a lot from that. And you really do learn to appreciate the victories when you kind of have that contrast."

The good news for the Pistons is that their fans are still with them. At least for now. Galli points out the Pistons are still one of the top 15 NBA teams for attendance.

"This is a basketball-crazed city," Galli says. "You don't want apathy from a fanbase that loves its team. And they're kind of treading into those waters of losing the passion of a fanbase that understands the game, that wants a winner, that continues to show up."

There may not be a quick fix for the Pistons. Fans just hope the team can apply the lessons of losing and score a win. They get another chance Saturday.

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