More than two teams, it is a brand that we will come to see at the Accor Arena. Three letters that are printed in capitals, even in the imagination: the NBA is back in Paris, so you have to be there. Despite the salty prices (from 60 to 830 euros), two-quarters is enough to sell the 15,000 seats. More than 100,000 requests would have been left unsatisfied, an aspect that played a role in the suggestion made to Canal+, and accepted, of a clear broadcast (beIN will also be). We’re in a rush for a regular-season game whose sporting interest promises to be less flashy than decorum.
Midway through the season, Chicago is rowing in hopes of a jump seat for the playoff berths. While Detroit, at the bottom of the cellar, seems mainly motivated by the tank, the best way to lose games to hope to win the first batch of the 2023 draft, named Victor Wembanyama. We imagine the alien from Boulogne-Levallois will come as a neighbor. What Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar would have done had PSG not made a return trip to the Gulf at the same time. Some former glories of the two franchises are announced on the lawn: Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace for the Pistons; Joakim Noah and BJ Armstrong for the Bulls.
A lumberjack’s basket
The latter, a leader with youthful features, was there at the height of the rivalry, thirty years ago. Perhaps the most prominent, in any case the most frontal, in the history of the league. A time when we rewind the VHS tapes to better dissect the blows dealt silently (or not) by the troops of Detroit, under the assumed nickname: the Bad Boys. With a well-defined goal, Michael Jordan, who was denied access to the circle and the NBA Finals. This gave rise to a concept, the Jordan Rules. “This style was in tune with the times, the game was more compact, with a lot of shock, the league even advanced it in their marketing, remembers George Eddy, who was already deciphering high-altitude duels for the French public. The Pistons were all in there, intimidating, bordering on violent. His trainer Chuck Daly [qui sera celui de la Dream Team aux JO 1992] he made it clear that he had no choice. In essence, it said, “Give me Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen, and then I’ll play differently.” »
This lumbering basketball allowed Detroit to delay the reign of His Majesty Jordan, who will have stumbled three times in the playoffs with the hated neighbor, driven by Isiah Thomas. With the All-Star base, the hostility remains palpable, as the documentary demonstrated the last dance launched in 2020. “Nothing will convince me I wasn’t a jerk”, There he hits MJ, relying especially on the transfer of power in 1991. An overwhelmed Conference Finals (4-0), but Pistons who leave, with seven seconds left, without even shaking hands with the winners.
Booba and Damso as fans
For Jordan and the Bulls, the door had finally been forced open. Two twins will follow, from 1991 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998, the myth of Air Jordan spreading in parallel on a planetary scale. Since then, the rivalry has faded. The two teams have not experienced top form at the same time, generating only one playoff meeting (2007 Conference Semifinal). Still, it has blown people’s minds. Even among rappers, on this side of the Atlantic. “I’m Chicago, you’re the Detroit Pistons”declared Booba in a piece in 2017, while Damso was photographed as follows: “Only in Detroit would I need a piston. »
Rather consistent at the turn of the 2010s, then led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Chicago went through five dry seasons before briefly breathing last year’s playoff air again. On paper, the roster has some charm, with two 2022 All-Star players in the outfield positions: DeMar DeRozan (gold medalist at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics with Team USA) and the ultra-spectacular Zach LaVine, extended last summer for five years and $215 million. Thursday’s game will also be an opportunity to measure the new thickness of the Frenchman Killian Hayes (21), the starting leader of the Pistons, the author of an outing with 26 points last Sunday (equal record). For a while we feared that the ex-Choletais were not traveling. But the NBA limited his suspension to three games for a hit from behind in late December to an opponent’s neck. The Bad Boys must have loved it.
Source : Le JDD