In Richfield, Ohio, Isiah Thomas scored 30 points and John Long added 29 as Detroit sent Cleveland to an NBA record 22nd straight defeat.
The Pistons, 3-0, got 19 points from Kelly Tripucka and 16 from Vinnie Johnson.
Ironically, Detroit previously shared the record for 21 defeats over two seasons.
Scotty Robertson knows all too well the kind of situation that Tom Nissalke inherited when Nissalke became coach of the Cavaliers less than two weeks ago.
"I said that all the losses from the year before weren't on me," Robertson said after last night's game.
"I came in and was starting from scratch," he said, pointing out the Pistons finished the 1979-80 season with 14 straight losses before Robertson took over the following season and lost his first seven games.
Nissalke's Cavaliers have lost three games this season, building on the 19 Cleveland lost at the end of last season under former coach Bill Musselman.
The Philadelphia 76ers hold the NBA mark for consecutive losses in one season with 20 in 1973.
Detroit built several 19-point leads in the third quarter and entered the final period leading, 107-93. But rookie point guard John Bagley and reserve center Paul Mokeski sparked a Cavalier rally that brought Cleveland within six on several occasions.
Cleveland's Scott Wedman then made a three-point shot with 32 seconds left to pull Cleveland within 124-119, the closest the Cavaliers had been since early in the second quarter.
But Thomas made four straight free throws to seal the victory for Detroit.
James Edwards led Cleveland with 22 points and Wedman added 21.
Detroit led, 40-36, at the end of one quarter and 72-63 at the half.