Detroit Pistons coach Monty Williams called out his team for its lack of "fight" after another blowout loss, saying his players are not honoring "the organization and the jersey."
Williams delivered a brief but passionate statement to reporters Monday night after Detroit's 126-107 home loss to the Washington Wizards in a matchup of the NBA's two worst teams.
It was the fourteenth consecutive loss for the Pistons (2-15), who now own the NBA's worst record and have not won a game in a month. The lowly Wizards (3-14), who had not won since Nov. 8, shot 51% from the floor and had seven scorers in double figures against the Pistons, who have lost three of their past four games by a least 19.
"That wasn't fight on the floor," Williams said. "That wasn't Pistons basketball by any stretch of the imagination. That's what this is -- we have to have people that honor the organization and the jersey by competing at a high level every night.
"I'm not talking about execution, just competing. That wasn't it, and that's on me."
In a postgame media session that lasted only one minute, Williams opened by saying he was "very" disappointed with the loss and described the Pistons' overall spirit in the game as "poor."
Williams told reporters before the game that the Pistons held a players-only meeting Friday, saying that "accountability" was a key talking point and that he loves working with the young roster.
But Williams was much harsher in his tone after the loss.
"It's just a level of growing up on this team, maturity, understanding what game-plan discipline is -- all the stuff we talk about all the time," he said. "It's enough talking."
Third-year forward Isaiah Livers said he agreed with Williams' assessment.
"There are a lot of little things we can talk about, but we just didn't play hard," Livers said. "Every team has roles, and it feels like none of us are playing our roles to the best of our abilities."
Star guard Cade Cunningham, who admitted last week that the Pistons are "bad" in a candid assessment of the team, told the Detroit Free Press that he and his teammates are making mistakes because they are "not physical enough or not aggressive enough."
"We all wanna win really bad," Cunningham told the Free Press. "Everybody's doing it out of the spirit of that -- wanting to win, wanting to do what's best for the team.
"I think we need more aggressive mess ups. Where we're struggling right now is slip ups where we're not physical enough or not aggressive enough. That's what we need to lean towards instead of trying not to press."
The 14-game losing streak ties the second-longest in Pistons franchise history, and their schedule does not get easier in the short term. After Wednesday's home game against the Lakers (10-8), the Pistons travel to New York the next day to face the Knicks (9-7) before returning home Saturday to host the Cavaliers (9-8).
If they cannot win one of those games, the Pistons will be in danger of approaching the longest skid in their history -- a 21-game losing streak that bridged the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons.
"We play great stretches, and then we've had crazy bad stretches where we dig ourselves in too deep of a hole," Cunningham told the Free Press. "That's it right there -- it's just holding each other accountable and when we do feel it start to slip, having the mental stamina to stay together, stay connected."