PARIS — As Victor Wembanyama sat courtside and watched some of the players he’ll advance against next season, Zach LaVine scored 30 points and the Chicago Bulls never trailed in a 126-108 win on the Detroit Pistons at the Paris NBA Game on. Thursday.
DeMar DeRozan added 26 points for the Bulls, while Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 25 points. Killian Hayes, the only French player on either roster, scored four points for Detroit on 2-of-13 shooting, but had a game-high eight assists.
Hamidou Diallo had 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting for Detroit, while Saddiq Bey and Jaden Ivey scored 16 for the Pistons.
It was the aid of several days of NBA celebrations in France, after both teams took part in clinics, tourist events such as visits to the Eiffel Tower, several upscale dinners and even a private show for the Pistons at the Opera House Paris .
And while the game counted – Chicago (21-24) remained in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and what would be the last place to play in with the win, and Detroit fell to 12-36, the second-worst mark in the NBA. – it wasn’t as good as any mid-season regular season matchup.
Celebrities included NBA greats such as Magic Johnson, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Tony Parker; a Bulls legend and French native son in Joakim Noah; the rising star everyone can’t stop talking about in Wembanyama; WNBA players like Gabby Williams; even Grammy winners and Formula 1 drivers.
“I don’t want to compare this to All-Star,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “but it’s the closest thing to a European All-Star Game we have.”
It was also a celebration of the continued strength of the international appeal of today’s NBA game. When the Bulls and Michael Jordan — along with BJ Armstrong, then a Bulls guard, now an NBA agent who was at Thursday’s game — played in Paris during the 1997 season, about 1 was born all 14 NBA players out of the game. US
Now, that’s about 1 in 4.
“It’s special because we’re representing not only Detroit, but the NBA,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “And we’re trying to put the brand in a good place – a place where basketball is taking off.”
Wembanyama and his family made their way to court seats about 15 minutes before the end, which immediately attracted a huge crowd. When the camera found him and he was shown to the French fans on the big screens in the arena in the second quarter, he clapped and smiled, as did his mother sitting a row back over his shoulder right — and the crowd laughs positively. joy
Both teams are flying home on Friday.
The NBA has teams in the United States and Canada, of course, and this game in France pushed the list of nations where the league has played or practiced this season to seven.
Mexico hosted a game between San Antonio and Miami last month. The Heat also had a training camp in the Bahamas, and the league went to two other countries for preseason games – Golden State and Washington played twice in Japan, and Milwaukee and Atlanta played twice in the United Arab Emirates.
It was a “home” game for the Pistons, even though Paris is about 4,000 miles from Detroit. As the home team, the Pistons had to bring a number of staff with them on the trip – including several game operations workers and members of the stat staff who work at the scoreboard.
James Capers, Karl Lane and Natalie Sago were sent to direct the game. All three referees had matches on Saturday in the USA, and then traveled to Paris.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.