REPORT – The NBA was on display all week in Paris, leading up to the Bulls’ 126-108 win over the Pistons on Thursday at Accor Arena.
At the Accor Arena
“I was about to call this trip a success before the match even took place“, Adam Silver smiled on Wednesday, on the eve of Chicago-Detroit. There is no doubt that the big boss of the NBA league did not change his mind after the second regular season game in Paris after Milwaukee-Charlotte in 2020. Accor Arena sold out (sold tickets in less than 30 minutes) and already full despite strikes , record number of broadcasters, partners: the NBA is at home in Paris. The young (21) French Pistons leader Killian Hayes is quite moreover, he who was invited to speak a few words before the game from the middle of the field.”Killian, we have to make sure“Tony Parker slipped, as a teasing master of ceremonies. Missed. With 4 points and 7 assists, the clumsy ex-Choletais (2/13) could not avoid defeat against the Bulls (126-108) by Zach LaVine (30) pts), DeMar DeRozan (26 pts) and Nikola Vucevic (16 pts, 15 rbs), winners of what Mr. Silver described as “what is closest to a European All Star Game“.
And there is really something that can go wrong, the start of the match takes place at high altitude, with many dunks and other amazing actions, here is a caviar between the legs of Vucevic who signed Hayes, there was a pass behind DeRozan for Vucevic… Before the kick-off, the atmosphere rose with the usual NBA entertainment, the Pistons DJ, the famous mascot Benny The Bull… Classic but effective before a great made against. Hayes was obviously the first to enter the floor when the Detroit team came in for warm-ups, as a guide.
Hayes, in recent form, dreaming of a golden destiny, in the footsteps of the French stars present Thursday, Joakim Noah, Mike Piétrus, Ronny Turiaf and TP. “He had pressure, I was a little scared of it… The Bulls were defending well but he wasn’t getting the shots he’s been making in recent months.“, summed up Dwane Casey, coach of Detroit. “Disappointing. Being in France, I wanted to play a big match… It wasn’t my day but that is how it is. pressure? Nope. I took the shots I usually take“, the ex-Choletais regretted in front of the press.
Magic, Verratti, Gasly in the stands
The NBA also brought some famous figures in its suitcases, like a Magic Johnson, in the front row, sitting next to Pharrell Williams. It is clear that the future French star Victor Wembanyama, the future number 1 of the NBA Draft, is there. Ditto for F1 pilots Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc, judoka Teddy Riner or footballers Aurélien Tchouaméni and Marco Verratti. We imagine that some of the latter’s teammates will want to be there, Kylian Mbappé in the lead, but PSG travel to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. However, the stars were on the floor as in the stands for this event, a regular season match in Paris, a match that matters. And the Bulls were back for the first time since a preseason game in 1997. At the time, Michael Jordan was entering his final season with the Illinois club. Times have changed, but the legend still sells. Chicago is also one of the most “bankable” teams in the world according to NBA numbers.
I am delighted and proud that the NBA has chosen to make France and Paris one of its favorite stadiums in the world.
The North American league was a hit everywhere in Paris. This happened through different activities during a week in the capital, with young and old. Adam Silver also took the opportunity to meet with President Macron on Wednesday, which the NBA announced on Thursday “a collaboration made up of a series of initiatives whose aim is to highlight basketball in France and Africa at all levels“. Upcoming collaboration with the French Federation (FFBB) and the National Basketball League (LNB). “I am delighted and proud of the NBA’s choice to make France and Paris one of its favorite stadiums in the world, Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. This reflects France’s long-standing special relationship with the NBA.Undoubtedly the most pleasant and simple meeting for the President of the Republic in these last days of social tensions.
On the game side, the Bulls are not in All Star Game mode. Not enough to forget their goal in any case, they are 10th in the East, ahead of the Pistons, 14th and penultimate. They cruised into the lead throughout the first period, often with a double-digit gap. 65-56 at the break. Game attack. Enough to please a kind, cheerful, family-oriented and somewhat international audience, as is the populous press gallery (more than 200 accredited).
Shortly after resumption, it was the turn of Detroit’s former glories to be honored in the middle of the field, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace, as well as Magic, the latter winning the prize on the applause meter. Respect. In the game, Vucevic was more cautious than at the beginning of the match, but the Bulls were still ahead despite the dribbling of Hamidou Diallo (17 pts), winner of the dunks competition in 2019 and we saw this week with the youth of the Paris Saint-Germain training center.
Zach LaVine puts it all together in the second half
The level of play went up a notch as the minutes ticked by, with LaVine, the man of the second half and the match, hitting a big dunk for the show. Dwane Casey’s players had the merit of not letting go, staying more or less in touch. Good for the fans, good for the suspense. In dire need of address, they tried everything for everyone by attacking the circle, just to believe it a little. Suspense, but no reversal of the situation, DeRozan and company do not lose the thread in “money-time” (126-108 final score), despite a specific context and at the end of what was described by all the actors as “Good experience“. They also all emphasize the “Beautiful surroundingsfrom Bercy. “It is a privilege to be a part of this eventDeRozan summarized.
So Chicago pocketed the victory, but of course, the NBA emerges as the big winner in this sequence. Adam Silver has made no secret that he hopes to return next year to Bercy. Not official yet, but it seems… Same thing for “Wemby”, not official with the NBA yet, but part of the family. As said by Mr. Silver on Wednesday, even Magic, who left a few minutes before the end, took the time to shake his hand… Everyone wanted to approach the phenomenon, the other star of the night.
The hype is insane. Unheard of for a player who hasn’t played in the NBA since LeBron James! “This is a talent we have never seen beforeenthuses Hayes. He is 2.21m, he shoots, dribbles and moves like a 1.90 man! Impressive, you don’t see that every day… He will help his team, wherever he goes, in attack and in defense. He has a huge future waiting for him.Who knows, maybe we’ll see the 19-year-old prodigy in Detroit in June, one of the worst teams in the US league in the standings and therefore one of the best chances to draft next to face the French and perhaps the world. basketball. The NBA expects the French giant. And France awaits the NBA with the same appetite.
Magic, Tchouameni, Wemby… Stars in shambles during the NBA match in Paris