The NBA is back, with the first live games on ESPN arriving on Friday 22nd October night, as the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets (11:45pm LIVE on ESPN 2) and the Phoenix Suns head to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday dawn (2:00am LIVE on ESPN 2). DStv and GOtv is your home of the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.
Viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to thrills and spills from the world’s best basketball league, with ESPN’s premier venues for coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 2021-22 season will continue through the week of Friday 22 to Thursday 28 October 2021.
The 76ers will be looking to improve on their fine showing in the 2020-21 season, when they finished atop the Eastern Conference and reached the semifinals of the Conference Playoffs, losing 4-3 in their epic series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Yet Philadelphia have had something of a cloud hanging over them, with a recent dispute between the franchise and point guard Ben Simmons causing friction ahead of the new season. “The situation is disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives,” said star man Joel Embiid. “I feel like our teams have been built [...] I feel like [Simmons] always had it here. And we still have it... Our teams have always been built around his needs.”
The Lakers, meanwhile, had a shoddy campaign in 2021-22: the reigning NBA champs ended seventh in the Western Conference before defeating the Warriors to advance into the Playoffs, where they were outclassed 4-2 by the Phoenix Suns in the first round.
The arrival of Carmelo Anthony, however, is a major boost, with the 37-year-old ready to play whatever role LA asks of him: “At this point, man, whatever we need to do, let's do it," Anthony explained. "It ain't... 'I can't sit,' and, 'Oh, I want to start,' 'I want to come off the bench.' Whatever it is, it is.”
Sunday 24 October also sees the Brooklyn Nets welcome the Charlotte Hornets to 'The Big Apple' (8:00pm LIVE on ESPN).
The Nets looked like title challengers through most of the 2020-21 season, ultimately ending second in the Eastern Conference standings before they were beaten in the second round of the Playoffs by the Bucks, with Milwaukee winning 4-3 in the thrilling series.
A key man in Brooklyn’s drive to claim the Championship this coming season will be veteran Kevin Durant, who insists that he is "more at ease" and relaxed mentally at this stage of his career as opposed to when he was younger: “Sometimes you may overthink it and may think too much about reactions and opinions of others because you are on the journey to perfection,” said Durant.
“But start to relax a little bit and understand what this is about and understand the long game, and it definitely made my mental a little bit more at ease coming to the gym every day and not focusing on that stuff."
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NBA match broadcast details
All times GMT
Friday 22 October
11:45pm NBA Regular Season, Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets – LIVE on ESPN 2
Saturday 23 October
02:00am NBA Regular Season, LA Lakers v Phoenix Suns – LIVE on ESPN 2
Sunday 24 October
8:00pm NBA Regular Season, Brooklyn Nets v Charlotte Hornets – LIVE on ESPN