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Wembanyama sits courtside, watches LaVine score 30 as Bulls beat Pistons in Paris Three things to Know: Celtics win, but are Warriors flipping the switch? Knicks center Mitchell Robinson undergoes thumb surgery, out at least three weeks Antetokounmpo passes Durant to be captain in latest All-Star fan voting tally Hawks reportedly find teams hesitant to take on future years of Collins contract

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PARIS. Victor Wembanyama, a 19-year-old French phenom and presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, sat by the court watching some of the players he faces next season.

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And the guy with the French surname put on a real show.

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Zach LaVine — who said his great-grandfather was French — scored 30 points, and the Chicago Bulls were never behind in a 126-108 win over the Detroit Pistons at an NBA game in Paris on Thursday.

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“Perhaps the air here was good for me,” LaVine said.

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 Hayesthe only French player on both lists to score four points for Detroit on 2-of-13 shooting, but had eight assists.

Hamidou Diallo scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting for Detroit while saddik bay and Jayden Ivey each scored 16 points for the Pistons.

“It was a little disappointing that we didn’t win tonight,” Hayes said.

It was the end of several days of NBA celebrations in France, after both teams took part in clinics, tourist activities such as a visit to the Eiffel Tower, several high-profile dinners, and even a private show for the Pistons at the Paris Opera.

And although the game was scored – Chicago (21-24) remained in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and what would be the last play-in with a win while Detroit fell to 12-36, the second-worst record in the NBA – is also wasn’t a routine mid-season regular season game.

The celebrity list included NBA greats such as Magic Johnson, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Tony Parker; Bulls legend and native French son Joaquim Noah; the rising star that everyone keeps talking about in Wembanyama; WNBA players such as Gabby Williams; even Grammy winners and Formula One drivers.

“I don’t want to compare it to the All-Star Game,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “but it’s the closest we’ve got to a European All-Star Game.”

It was also a celebration of the continued strength of the international presence in today’s NBA game. When the Bulls and Michael Jordan—along with B.J. Armstrong, then Bulls quarterback and now NBA agent who was at Thursday’s game—played in Paris during preseason in 1997, about 1 in every 14 NBA players born outside the USA.

Now it’s about 1 to 4.

“This is a special event because we represent not only Detroit, but the NBA,” said Pistons coach Dwayne Casey. “And we’re trying to put the brand in a good place – in a place where basketball is gaining momentum.”

Vembanyama and his family took their seats around the court about 15 minutes before the start of the match, immediately drawing a huge crowd. When the camera found him and he was shown to the French fans on the big screens of the arena in the second quarter, he applauded and smiled, as did his mother, who was sitting in the same row behind him over his right shoulder – and the crowd literally roared with delight. .

Both teams fly home on Friday.

“It’s great that here in Paris people can get up close and personal with the NBA,” said Bulls coach Billy Donovan. “It makes you realize that this sport is being watched so closely all over the world. It was wonderful. The place was sold out.”

“Three Things You Need to Know” is NBC’s five-day coverage of last night in the NBA. Verify Every weekday morning for what you missed the night before, plus the gossip, drama, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.

1) Celtics win but Warriors flip a switch?

The Boston Celtics won Thursday night’s nationally televised final rematch by doing what they’ve been doing all season: playing strong defense, moving the ball offensively, and trusting their stars to play big. Jaylen Brown by 3 to tie the game and force OT.

The Celtics are the best team in the NBA this season. We know they are capable of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June. Not surprisingly, they pulled away in overtime from a 121-118 victory.

On the other hand, we expected the Warriors to start taking care of the regular season, play with a sense of urgency, and start showing up and looking like the defending champions.

Have the Warriors finally flipped the switch?

“In general, I liked the level of competition, the way the guys played together,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game via NBC Sports Bay Area.. “We looked like we are, that is, a championship team. But we haven’t closed the game. It’s better now than in the playoffs.”

On paper it was the final rematch, but overall it was a sloppy game. Jason Tatum there were a few ugly turns on the site. The Warriors edged out the paint, trailing 52-30, while the Celtics dominated the glass all night.

However, it was a tough Warriors team that we saw too little of this season. They had a solid defense against MVP candidate Tatum (34 points, but on 9-of-27 shooting). Kerr also treated it like a playoff game, with an eight-man rotation that leaned heavily on his strong starting five (still statistically one of the best fives in the NBA this season).

You might argue that this was an anomaly for the Warriors – they are still playing under .500 (with a brutal back-to-back game in Cleveland tonight). They lost to an underwhelming Bulls on Sunday, and just a week ago they were on a three-game losing streak against the Pistons, Magic and the struggling Suns. All season they looked like a bored championship team waiting for games to matter. Because of this, they are ranked ninth in the West.

But the whole season we waited for the run. Looking forward to a series of games where they flip the switch, win 12 out of 14 and climb up the standings looking like the Warriors we know. There have been more outbursts of this team lately, even if it is more outbursts accompanied by inconsistency.

On Thursday night, in a loss in Boston, we saw a Warriors team that could defend their title. Maybe it’s the game that makes them show up every night with a sense of urgency.

As it should be, they don’t have much time.

2) Ben Simmons catapults and the struggling Nets fall in front of the struggling Suns

Ben Simmons was disappointed. He racked up fouls and yelled at the umpires most of the night, and then when he got his fifth foul at 8:47 before going into the third quarter because of the moving screen, he did throw his ass out, but much worse. on the screens, no one spoke about the league – Simmons crossed the line with some kind of magic language and was expelled.

By that point, the Nets had lost 16 and that game was out of control as the Nets again struggled to create a consistent offense without Kevin Duran (they are now 0-4 since he came out with a knee injury). Brooklyn had an attack rating of 109.8 in that game (via Cleaning the Glass), the worst record for the Rockets at the league level. Coming back to Cleveland, teams where Kyrie Irving was the #1 option they struggled with (but if he’s second to LeBron/KD, they thrive).

Mikal Bridges was hot on the outside and scored 28 points, Deandre Ayton got everything he wanted en route to 24. Kyrie Irving hit 30 and the Nets came back late to make a game they almost stole, but the Suns held on. Phoenix needs a win like this as he tries to stay afloat while Devin Booker returns.

3) Zach LaVine 30 points, Bulls are the best Pistons in Paris

Perhaps the best player in the building sat by the court watching on Thursday in Paris – Victor Wembanyama made it to the game despite a transport strike in France.

Also in attendance was former French NBA star Joaquim Noah, dressed for the occasion.

Oh, there was also a basketball game when the NBA promoted its product on the European continent. Zach LaVine – he has a French surname (he said after the game that his great-grandfather was French) – folded 30, DeMar DeRozan added 26 points and the Bulls were never behind in a 126–108 win over the Pistons.


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