The NBA heads to Paris on Thursday for the second and final of this season’s NBA Global Games, with old rivals Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons meeting at the Accor Arena in the French capital.
This game may not have a huge bearing on how the season pans out as the Pistons look destined to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year and the Bulls are in danger of missing out themselves, as they currently sit in 10th spot in the East.
However, the fans in Paris will still get to see some elite level players as a few All-Stars will be involved and the rivalry between Detroit and Chicago remains one of the fiercest in the NBA.
|What||Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons|
|Where||Accor Arena, Paris, France|
|When||20:00, Thursday 19th January, 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Arena, NBA League Pass & bet365 Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds||CHI Bulls 5/14, DET Pistons|
The Pistons are the designated 'home' team for this latest instalment of the NBA Global Games but it may well be the Bulls who have the backing of the crowd at the Accor Arena in Paris as they are the team with the far larger international fan base, thanks to the Michael Jordan-era during the 1990s.
The rivalry between Detroit and Chicago stretches across all the major sports due to the geographical proximity of the two cities but it is perhaps the most intense in the NBA.
The two teams are both in the Central Division, and there have been some intense battles between the Pistons and the Bulls over the years.
In the late 1980s, Detroit dominated as they eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs for three consecutive years – starting in 1988 when the 'Bad Boy' Pistons eliminated Jordan and Chicago in the conference semi-finals.
Chicago turned the tide in 1991 and went on to win the first of their six championships of the 90s.
The clashes between Chicago and Detroit tend to be physically intense battles, and that is likely to be a factor in Paris, even if the atmosphere isn't quite the same in an international arena.
Chicago, rated at 9/5 to make the Playoffs, may be having a difficult season as they have so far failed to build on last year's playoff appearance, which ended a five-year postseason drought, but they still have some big names in their team to draw the crowds in Paris.
DeMar DeRozan was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career last term and he is set to return from a three-game absence with a thigh issue in Paris. Two-time All-Stars Zach LaVine, who scored 43 points in Chicago’s 132-118 win over Detroit in December, and Nikola Nikola Vucevic are also set to start for the Bulls.
Detroit don't have the same kind of star quality, but they do have a few up and coming players who can make an impact, including third-year forward Saddiq Bey and Rookie of the Year contender Jaden Ivey.
The Pistons, 28/1 to make the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, also have France international Killian Hayes on their team, which should ensure they receive plenty of support in Paris, even if the crowd do largely favour the Bulls.
These two teams may share a bitter rivalry, but it has been one-sided in terms of results in recent years as Detroit haven't beaten Chicago since 2019 – with the Bulls claiming 12 victories since the Pistons last triumphed.
Chicago claimed a 14-point win in the only meeting so far this season at the United Center in December, and they are the team who go into this clash in the better form after a stunning 132-118 win over champions Golden State Warriors last time out. DeRozan sat out that game but Vucevic starred, with a joint career-high 43 points alongside 13 rebounds.
The Bulls have four wins in their last seven games and are in a position to push for the playoff spots in the second half of the campaign, as they have a 20-24 overall record and are four-and-a-half games behind New York Knicks in sixth place.
Detroit are 12-35 overall and they sit in 14th place, while losing promising youngster Cade Cunningham to injury earlier in the season has been a real blow in terms of helping their team develop as well as results.
The Pistons have just one win in their last six games and may welcome the chance to play a game on neutral territory as they bid to refocus for the remainder of the season, even if any outside hopes of challenging for a play-in spot appear over.