From a tantalising rematch of last season’s Play-In Tournament classic between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors to primetime contests featuring Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic, there are a whole host of reasons to watch the NBA on Sky Sports this week.
Wednesday Night: Atlanta Hawks @ New Orleans Pelicans
Or Thursday morning, for the pedants out there. We start with the Atlanta Hawks visiting the Big Easy in search of their third win of the new campaign, while the New Orleans Pelicans sit on only one victory and two defeats without their disruptor-in-chief Zion Williamson – still out with a foot injury he suffered during the off-season.
Even without Zion, there will be plenty of the league’s best talent on the floor. You know Trae Young by now: the ice-cold bucket-creator and shot-maker who does not shy away from the spotlight as the star point guard of this ambitious Hawks team.
John ‘The Baptist’ Collins is always good for a highlight dunk to lift you out of your seat, or two, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cam Reddish are shooting the lights out from three-point range at the moment.
The Pelicans have some serious players themselves. Brandon Ingram, their go-to guy with Zion out, is averaging 27 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and almost 5 assists this season. Devonte Graham can light it up in a hurry and Nickeil Alexander-Walker already looks light-years ahead of the player he was last season.
Me? I’d tune in just to watch Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas gobble up rebounds like his life depends on it: he is averaging 15 per game and had an astonishing 23 boards (along with 22 points) against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
Sky Sports Main Event and Arena from 12:30am
Thursday night: Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers
There’s two games for the price of one on Thursday night as we have a back-to-back, starting with the Detroit Pistons against the Philadelphia 76ers and ending with the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors.
For the first game, I’ll be completely honest: the Detroit Pistons are not very good. They have lost all three of their games so far and their number one overall pick Cade Cunningham has yet to make his debut for the franchise due to a sprained right ankle.
That being said, any time you get a chance to watch Joel Embiid play basketball I advise you take it. The Sixers center averaged 28.5 points per game and was the MVP runner-up last year. On any given night he can put up ridiculous numbers and Thursday should be no different.
The Pistons will have 20-year-old pivot Isaiah Stewart trying to stop him, who, while a tenacious and relentless defender, is undersized at 6 foot 8 inches. Embiid could feast.
Sky Sports Arena from 12am
Game of the Week: Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors
Set those alarms or just power straight through after Pistons @ Sixers. Do whatever you need to do. This might be the best game across the entirety of Week 2 in the NBA.
Ja Morant is the most exciting player in the league right now. Steph Curry is still Steph Curry, somehow finding new ways to baffle fans and opposition players alike. Both the Grizzlies and the Warriors look the real deal as playoff teams in the West.
And in case you needed anything else, this is a rematch of last season’s Play-In Tournament, which saw the unfancied Grizz upset Golden State in an overtime classic.
Morant and Curry had 74 points between them that night but do not expect anything less because this is a regular-season game: they sit at number one and number three in the points-per-game leaders. Simply put, expect a show this Friday morning to get your weekend started early.
Sky Sports Arena from 3am
#NBASaturdays: Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards, Miami Heat @ Memphis Grizzlies
Now we get far more gentle with the timings as the Boston Celtics take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday evening, so you really do have no excuse.
Jayson Tatum scored 41 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night and could be a dark horse MVP candidate this season, while Jaylen Brown, his two-way wing sidekick, obliterated Miles Bridges (usually doing the obliterating) with a dunk that should come with some kind of content warning.
Anyway, here it is.
The Celtics have already had two overtime thrillers this season so keep your fingers crossed for another this weekend. If Bradley Beal turns up, the Wizards could push them all the way.
Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 10pm
After that, we have got Ja Morant and his upstart Memphis team again (thank you, schedule gods) hosting the impressive Miami Heat.
The Heat decimated the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks by 42 points in their opening game – a new franchise record – and have one of the more interesting rosters in the league thanks to the additions of Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker.
Tyler Herro, too, looks to be having the breakout season we all envisaged after his blistering form during the 2020 playoffs and Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are two of the best do-it-all stars in the league.
Here’s that man Butler getting buckets against the Orlando Magic to get you suitably in the mood.
Sky Sports Mix from 1am
#NBASundays: Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks
And to wrap things up, we have Luka magic on a Sunday evening.
If that wasn’t enough, it’s also free to stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel. Can’t ask for much more than that, can you?
While watching Luka Doncic play basketball is always a joy, it will be made even more interesting by the fact that he will likely spend some of his Sunday evening up against Davion Mitchell, the rookie Sacramento Kings guard nicknamed ‘Off Night’ such is the effect of his defense on opposing players.
He has already held Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Steph Curry (no, really) to poor shooting performances in his first three games in the NBA and now he gets to take a crack at Doncic, the be-all and end-all of the Mavericks offense.
Will the Slovenian’s sheer size advantage prove too much for the 2021 draft’s ninth overall pick? It will be fascinating to find out.
You can read more about Mitchell and his deserved reputation as a stopper in this week’s Starting Five column here, along with segments on four other players.
And finally, remember Harrison Barnes, once an integral part of the Warriors’ championship-winning ‘Death Lineup’ in 2015? He’s averaging 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings at the time of writing and even dropped a new career-high. The question is, can he keep it up to put Sacramento into playoff contention? Only time will tell.
Sky Sports Arena from 7:30pm