• (L-R) Tyrese Maxey, Trae Young, Jerami Grant, Kevin Durant (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
SBS will again broadcast two NBA games this weekend and there remains plenty of talking points surrounding each of the four franchises on offer.
By
SBS Sport

29 Oct 2021 - 12:57 PM  UPDATED 29 Oct 2021 - 12:57 PM

Watch two games of the NBA 2021-22 regular season each week LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

Hesitant Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are off to a good start in the new NBA season, but one glaring weakness could soon undo all their progress.

Nate McMillan’s men currently rank 23rd in first-quarter scoring; converting a little over 35 per cent of their attempts.

Only John Collins, Clint Capela and Delon Wright have shot above 40 per cent through multiple games, while star guard Trae Young trails with 36.4 per cent in the first frame.

Such a statistic would be more alarming if not for their 3-2 record, even if three of those victories have come against teams with a combined 3-8 mark over that same span.

Philadelphia will no doubt look to exploit Atlanta’s first-quarter struggles as a result, having outscored each of their first four opponents in the opening stanza with an average of 31.25 points.

To the Maxey

Tyrese Maxey has reaped the rewards of Ben Simmons’ continued absence, filling the void at point-guard for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The second-year guard’s skills are more suited to scoring than passing, typified by his 14.4-4.4-3.6 statline through five games.

Teammate Danny Green is among Maxey’s admirers, hailing his willingness to adjust to the same dunker spot Simmons excelled in.

“He’s got a lot on his plate,” Green said. “Throwing things at him every day, every game, and he’s handling it like a mature adult for a kid who’s barely 21.”

Maxey will again be key for the Sixers against the Hawks, the team who eliminated them from the playoffs last season.

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The NBA returns this October in what's set to be another blockbuster regular season, and you can watch live action every week on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand

Irving-sized void

Kyrie Irving’s continued absence from the Brooklyn Nets is beginning to take its toll, according to All-Star teammate Kevin Durant.

Irving has been banned from all team activities until he complies with New York City’s vaccination protocols and the Nets have been left without a winning record as a result.

Speaking after the Nets’ 106-93 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday, Durant admitted Irving’s ability to score off his own shot was a weapon his side have been struggling to replicate.

“Yeah, we do miss Kyrie. We do,” Durant said. “He’s a part of our team, but for the most part we’ve been generating great shots, we’ve been getting into the paint.

“It’s just a matter of knocking them down.”

Irving’s absence has been amplified by James Harden’s own on-court struggles, but the 2018 MVP vowed he will “keep fighting” to increase his 16.6 points per game back to the 24.6 he managed last season.

Engine failure

The Detroit Pistons remain one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Dwayne Casey’s side started winless through the opening week for the second consecutive year and there appears to be no end in sight for the proud franchise.

First-overall pick Cade Cunningham has been unavailable due to an ankle injury sustained in training camp and the Pistons have failed to generate a consistent offence in his absence.

Jerami Grant has been a bright spot despite the slump, though injury could curtail his momentum during a run that sees Milwaukee come to town after a tough trip to Brooklyn.

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NBA 2021-22 LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand this weekend

Sunday, October 31

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers

10:30am - 1:00pm (AEDT)

LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand

 

Monday, November 1

Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn Nets

10:30am - 1:00pm (AEDT)

LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand