Zach LaVine had 30 points, five rebounds and four assists as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Detroit Pistons 108–126 ahead of a lively Frenchman Basketball crowd at the Accor Arena in Paris on Thursday evening (January 19).
The Bulls went out with a nine-point lead late in the first half and held on to the second, winning their 13th straight game against their longtime Central Division rivals.
“We played the right way. It was a little slow in the beginning, but it was good,” said LaVine after the game.
“The second half of the season is coming up, the All-Star break is coming up so we need to start picking up and playing as a team like we should. I think these last few wins, we’ve shown the right way we’ve played this year,” he continued.
“Of course, we’ll gain more from the fact that we’re back and fully fit, so we’ll continue, play the right way and just take every game as a challenge and try to win.”
Rio 2016 Olympic gold medalist DeMar DeRozan returned from a recent right quad strain and added 26 points for the Bulls while Montenegro Nikola Vucevic recorded another double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. A total of seven Bulls players reached double-digit points.
Croatia Bogan Bogdanovic he led the scoring for the Pistons with 25 points as a rookie Jalen durenwho missed Monday with his team due to a lost passport, made a double-double after returning from injury: 11 points and 12 rebounds.
French player Killian Hayeswho experienced the warmth of the home fans, had four points, one rebound and eight assists.
Victor Wembanyama attentively watches the NBA game in Paris from the sidelines
The Bulls’ victory is their second victory over the Pistons this season after defeating the Detroit team at home on December 30, 132-118.
While the home fans didn’t get the victory they wanted, thanks to their local star Hayes, they had something else to chew on.
The leading French candidate for this year’s NBA draft Winner Wembanyama was one of the stars sitting on the front row of tonight’s blockbuster, and despite not being on the pitch, the name of the 20-year-old 7ft 4in was on everyone’s lips.
As they face a fourth straight season expected to end with fewer than 30 wins, the Pistons are very much in the talk for the No. 1 pick, which appears to be the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 player dubbed “an alien” by LeBron James.