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. 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||3:00 PM EST, Thursday 19th January, 2023|
|How to watch||NBA League Pass, Local TV: BSDET, NBCSCH|
|Odds||CHI Bulls -280, DET Pistons|
The Pistons are the designated 'home' team for this latest installment of the NBA Global Games but it may well be the Bulls who have the support of the crowd at the Accor Arena in Paris. Chicago's international fan base became prominent thanks to the Michael Jordan era during the 1980s and 1990s.
The rivalry between Detroit and Chicago stretches across all the major sports due to the close proximity of the two cities, but its at its fiercest in the NBA.
With both teams in the Central Division, which guarantees four games against each other per season, there have been many intense battles between the former NBA juggernauts over the years.
In the late 1980s, Detroit dominated as they eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs in three consecutive years – starting in 1988 when the 'Bad Boy' Pistons eliminated Jordan and Chicago in the Conference Finals. Led by legendary point guard Isiah Thomas, the Pistons won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
Chicago turned the tide in 1991 and went on to win the first of their six championships over eight seasons.
The clashes between Chicago and Detroit tend to be extremely physical battles. That is likely to be a factor in Paris, even if the atmosphere isn't quite the same in an international arena.
Chicago, who are +180 to make the playoffs, have failed to build off last year's successful season and playoff appearance -- their first in five seasons -- but they still have several All-Star caliber players.
DeMar DeRozan, who was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career last year, is set to return from a three-game absence with a thigh issue. Two-time All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic are also set to star for the Bulls.
Detroit doesn't have the same kind of star quality as Chicago, but they do have a crop of 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, +2800 to make the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, have French international Killian Hayes, which should ensure they receive a boost from the crowd in Paris, even if it will largely favor the Bulls.
These two teams may share a bitter rivalry, but it has been one-sided in terms of results in recent years. Detroit hasn't beat Chicago since 2019, as the Bulls have claimed 12 victories in a row.
Chicago claimed a 14-point win in the only meeting so far this season at the United Center in December, and are the team currently in better form after defeating the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors last time out. DeRozan sat out that game but Vucevic starred, tying a career-high in points with 43.
The Bulls have four wins in their last seven games and are in a position to push for a spot in the postseason. Chicago sits at 20-24, four-and-a-half games behind the New York Knicks in sixth place.
Detroit is 12-35 overall and sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference. Losing franchise centerpiece Cade Cunningham to a season-ending shin injury in December has been a real blow in terms of helping their team develop.
The Pistons have just one win in their last six games and may welcome the chance to play a game at a neutral venue, even if any hopes of challenging for a play-in spot are lost.