The Pistons were long overdue for some payback against the Chicago Bulls.
The franchise had lost 12 consecutive games to the Bulls over the last three seasons, ahead of Thursday’s international showdown in Paris, France.
However, even more than 4,000 miles across the world, the outcome was the same.
Detroit’s payback will have to wait for another day, as the Pistons had a poor defensive showing, leading to a 126-108 loss to the Bulls in NBA Paris Game 2023.
Thursday’s loss was considered a “home game” for Detroit, and it had all the makings of Little Caesars Arena. The Pistons wore their “Association” white uniforms. Longtime public address announcer John Mason took his popular voice on the road, and the team’s routine music blared through Accor Arena after each Pistons score.
Despite the familiarity, Detroit had difficulty containing the Bulls’ one-two punch of DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine, who combined for 56 points.
Lavine, who scored a season-high 43 points against the Pistons on Dec. 30, led the Bulls once again, with 30 points, five rebounds and four assists. He did most of his damage at the basket, which included explosive dunks and a bevy of free throws.
Just as he’s done throughout his career, DeRozan found most of his offensive success in the mid-range game. He finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The Bulls controlled the entirety of the game and led by as many as 18. Detroit tried to make it interesting in the fourth quarter, trimming the deficit to nine, but Chicago kept its foot on the gas and held on for the victory.
It was the Pistons’ third consecutive loss and 13th straight loss to the Bulls — the second this season, after a 132-118 loss on Dec. 30.
Bojan Bogdanovic entered Thursday’s game needing just 25 points to reach the 10,000-point mark for his career. The veteran forward scored exactly 25 points to lead the Pistons, to go along with five rebounds. His milestone-clinching basket occurred on a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
Hamidou Diallo scored 17 points off the bench for the Pistons, Saddiq Bey added 16 points and nine rebounds and Jaden Ivey 13 points and four assists.
Neither team shot well from beyond the 3-point line. The Pistons only made four of their 25 attempts, while the Bulls went 5-of-19 from behind the arc.
Killian Hayes, who grew up in Cholet, France, struggled on Thursday, with just four points and eight assists on 2-of-13 shooting from the field. He tied Ivey with a team-high four turnovers. He was also limited by foul trouble, finishing with four fouls.
The Pistons will meet the Bulls two more times this season in an attempt to eradicate their three-season losing streak: March 1 in Detroit and the team’s regular-season finale in Chicago on April 9.
Here are a few quick takeaways from the Pistons’ loss on Thursday:
▶ Hayes’ homecoming: It was a quiet night for Hayes, who was playing an NBA game in front of his family and friends for the first time. It was a disappointing outing, especially since he entered the game playing the best basketball of his career. Hayes’ shots didn’t fall, from the mid-range or from distance. He missed all six of his 3-point attempts and spent large chunks of the game on the bench due to foul trouble. During the waning moments of the game, Hayes blocked a dunk attempt by Alex Caruso and had an awkward fall as his momentum led him to the stands. He was slow to get up and favored his left shoulder, but eventually rose to his feet to finish the game.
▶ Duren’s return: Jalen Duren did not travel with the team to Paris due to reports of a passport issue. However, he did join the Pistons in Paris in time to play on Thursday after missing the last five games due to an ankle injury. His return was a bright spot for the Pistons, as he finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Duren received the ball in the post for his trademark dunks, and he also showed some versatility as he knocked down a face-up jumper. His return was limited to 18 minutes off the bench after starting the last 15 games when he was healthy, which means the team likely wants to ease him back into the first unit.
▶ Celebrities in Paris: Thursday’s international showcase between the Pistons and Bulls brought several notable figures out to Accor Arena. The game’s celebrity spectators included former Pistons greats Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton, Lansing native and Michigan State and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, four-time NBA champion and France native Tony Parker, rapper Lil Baby, superproducer Pharrell Williams, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, former Bulls player Joakim Noah, and Victor Wembanyama, the projected No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.