Cade Cunningham was special Tuesday night. He played like the best point guard in the NBA. Of his 41 points, he scored 37 of them in the second half. He went 13-of-16 from the field and 3-of-3 from the 3-point line. when Detroit Pistons It fell 108-103 Brooklyn Nets With three minutes left in the game, Cunningham scored his team’s next 10 points.
It took him two minutes to cut the deficit to two. Then, suddenly, the Pistons couldn’t fire anymore, and they ended up setting an NBA record with their 27th straight loss in a single season. Dorian-Finney Smith hit a comeback three to put the Nets up by five with 39 seconds left. This was followed by a 25-foot jumper from Alec Burks coming out of a timeout.
What a painful defeat for the Pistons and their fans. Cunningham’s performance was one of the best in franchise history. According to a Bally Sports Detroit telecast, he is the first Piston to score 35 or more points in a first half since the 1996-97 season. Tuesday marked the second time in December that Cunningham scored at least 40 points. No one has done that in a Piston uniform since Jerry Stackhouse in 2001.
Cunningham scored in every way possible during that two-minute period. He hit a step-back three, absorbed contact for an and-1, and no Nets could stay in front of him. If the Pistons had been able to pull this off, Cunningham’s performance would have been considered one of the best of the year.
Instead, the Pistons became an embarrassing answer to a trivia question. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers They won just nine games that season and still have not suffered 27 straight losses.
Jalen Duren is back on Earth as the Pistons’ starting center. He scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in only his 14th game this season due to ankle injuries. The extra beef up the middle would have been beneficial for the Pistons, but that combined with career-high scoring from Cunningham led to a 118-112 loss to the Nets.
The Pistons weren’t supposed to be Eastern Conference contenders, however, by bringing in Monty Williams, and having Cunningham return from the injury that prematurely ended the 2022-23 season, they also weren’t expected to lose enough to get into the record books.
While Cunningham has played in just over 100 NBA games, he has done enough to prove that the Pistons were right to make him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The introduction of the lottery is something they were supposed to be prepared to avoid this season, but there is every reason to believe they will once again compete for the top pick.
The Pistons have interesting pieces and a rising star in Cunningham. And on Tuesday night, he had a remarkable performance that was perhaps the best of his short NBA career. Although the match was not nationally televised, the sports world was paying attention to see if the date would be set on the day after Christmas in 2023.
Cunningham did his best to fight him, but those 41 points weren’t enough to keep the Pistons out of the history books.