NBA: Atlanta Hawks travel to meet Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday

Cleveland have so far suffered two defeats on the road, although both came against leading playoff candidates in the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors.

Facing Atlanta at home will be their easiest task so far, with the Hawks also losing their first two, again both on the road, but both also worryingly by a wide-margin against teams who could struggle this season.

But this is a game someone will have to win, with the loser most likely realising they will face a long, hard season of struggle, even at such an early stage.

Key Battle:

Kevin Love v Shooting Percentage – Love has scored 21 and 26 points in his first two games of the season but he is not even shooting 30 per cent from the field and that needs to change. He has been doing plenty of damage from the free-throw line but, given the lack of top talent on the Cavs roster in the post-LeBron era, he has to shoot better if they are to get anywhere near the post-season.

Numbers Game:

27.5 – that’s the amount of points per game the Cavaliers need to find after LeBron’s departure for the Lakers. Much of that is going to fall on Love’s shoulders and we’ll soon know whether the sharp shooter is ready to carry the load of a team on his back and get back to the 26 point average he managed twice with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs badly need him at that level.

One to watch (Hawks):

Trae Young – Polarised opinion heading into the NBA Draft – some claiming him to be the most exciting player in the class, others dropping him down their board because of his poor shooting percentage. The fifth overall pick will undoubtedly have some growing pains in the pro ranks, but Young will certainly be exciting to watch and will find himself on many a highlight reel in time.

One to watch (Cavaliers):

Cedi Osman – Osman may not be the most stylish basketball player but if there is an award for sheer effort, he will go close to winning it. The Turkish-Macedonian product will be expected to play plenty of defense, and rebounds well against bigger opponents, but his offensive game is under-rated and he’s so excitable it makes him great fun to watch on the bench as well!

Week 1 – Sunday’s fixtures

  • Hawks @ Cavaliers
  • Kings @ Thunder
  • Warriors @ Nuggets
  • Rockets @ Clippers

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