Hawks reportedly find teams hesitant to take on future years of Collins contract
PARIS (AP) — Victor Wembanyama sat courtside, the 19-year-old French phenom and presumed No. 1 in the NBA draft watching some of the players he will face next season.
🇬🇧 @vicw_32 in the building for #NBAParis! pic.twitter.com/PkKxp801xA
— NBA (@NBA) January 19, 2023
And a guy with a French last name put on quite a show.
Zach LaVine – who said his great-grandfather was French – scored 30 points and the Chicago Bulls never trailed in a 126-108 victory over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Paris game on Thursday.
“Maybe the air here was good for me,” LaVine said.
DeMar DeRozan added 26 points for the Bulls, and Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine paraded for the W in Paris!
DeRozan: 26 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST
LaVine: 30 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST#NBAParis 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/wjVQNm8E7w
— NBA (@NBA) January 19, 2023
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 25 points. Killian Hayes, the only French player on either side, scored four points for Detroit on 2-of-13 shooting but had eight assists.
Hamidou Diallo had 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting for Detroit, while Saddiq Bey and Jaden Ivey each scored 16 for the Pistons.
“It was a little frustrating not to be the winners tonight,” said Hayes.
It was the culmination of several days of NBA celebration in France, after both teams took part in clinics, tourist events like visits to the Eiffel Tower, high-end dinners and even a private show for the Pistons at the Paris Opera.
And while the game counted – Chicago (21-24) remained 10th in the Eastern Conference and what would be the last place in the game with the win, while Detroit fell to 12-36, the second-worst mark in the NBA – nor was it an ordinary regular season game in the middle of the season.
The celebrity list included NBA greats like Magic Johnson, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Tony Parker; a Bulls legend and native French son of Joakim Noah; the rising star everyone keeps talking about in Wembanyama; WNBA players like Gabby Williams; even Grammy winners and Formula 1 drivers.
“I don’t quite want to compare it 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 imprint on today’s NBA game. When the Bulls and Michael Jordan — along with then-Bulls guard BJ Armstrong, now an NBA agent who was at the game on Thursday — played in Paris during preseason in 1997, roughly 1 in 14 NBA players was born in outside the United States.
Now it’s about 1 in 4.
“It’s special because we’re not just representing Detroit, but the NBA,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “And we try to put the brand in a good place – in a place where basketball takes off.”
Wembanyama and his family made their way to the court seats about 15 minutes before the tip-off, immediately drawing a huge crowd. When the camera found him and he was shown to French fans on the big arena screens in the second quarter, he clapped and smiled, as did his mother sitting a row back on his shoulder right – as the crowd roared with joy. .
Both teams return home on Friday.
“It’s great for people here in Paris to see the NBA up close,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “It makes you realize that the sport is watched so closely around the world. It was amazing. The place was full.”
Learn more about bulls