Hawks vs. Pacers and crushing NBA hipster guilt

Joe Robbins

I like watching the Warriors and Nuggets. I've written about the Bucks a lot. I know Greivis Vasquez's favorite moves. But Lord, I cannot get into Hawks vs. Pacers. Am I a bad NBA hipster?

First, there's guilt. "You haven't watched enough of the Pacers-Hawks series. Put on the Pacers-Hawks game. It's a contested series!" I put it on. Then there's the ennui. "God, I can't watch this." I go back to something glamorous, in this case the halftime show during Knicks-Celtics.

I am supposed to love all pro basketball. I am not remotely attracted to Hawks vs. Pacers. What is wrong with me?

If I spoke to a therapist, the therapist would surely say that I need to put my happiness first. I need to love myself before I love all pro basketball generally, and Hawks-Pacers specifically. And so long as I feel guilt at not loving Hawks-Pacers, I am not loving my sense of self. So I need to learn that it's okay to not love Hawks-Pacers.

Actual Hawks-Pacers coverage: Peachtree Hoops Indy Cornrows

I don't know why I feel guilty in the first place, to be honest. This series has been pretty awful from a competitive standpoint. Sure, it's 3-2 after Indiana's Game 5 win on Wednesday, but every game has been won by double-digits. The average margin has been 17. Where other series have featured crazy comebacks, Hawks-Pacers has nothing. Here is the formula for Hawks-Pacers: home team asserts will and dominates. The lead holds. Game over. There's no drama. There's no conflict. It's competitive only in the macro sense. There have actually been few possessions in the series in which a game has been competitive.

Maybe it's because I actually watched Game 3, which I figured would be an entertaining affair. Indiana had been dominant at home in the first two games, so I figured that Atlanta's own home court advantage would improve its performance and lead to a tight battle. Instead, the Pacers decided to score 30 points in the first half. 30. I summoned all of my bravery to dip into Hawks-Pacers, and Indiana rewarded me with 27 percent shooting, 22 turnovers and 69 points.

When you mix the lack of drama with the basic characteristics of the teams involved, it's all too much. Indiana played at one of the league's slowest paces this season, and the Hawks were mid-rung. Both teams have good defenses (the Pacers in the elite category); both teams are mediocre on offense. The best players for each team are Al Horford and Paul George. The latter is exciting to watch when he's cranking. The former is easy to appreciate, but not exactly prone to yield exclamation marks.

I feel as though someone who champions League Pass and love for all basketball should be able to find something to appreciate in Hawks-Pacers. But at this point, it's barely salvageable. We need to add the Rock 'n' Jock 10-point basket or pinball-style multi-ball mode when the leads get too large to ensure we have a competitive game somewhere in here. Or a Josh Smith-George one-on-one battle, that'd be fun. Or a David West-Horford sparring match. A D.J. Augustin-Jeff Teague speed skating race. Roy Hibbert-Zaza Pachulia game of Twister. Danny Granger-Lou Williams Scrabble game. Frank Vogel and Larry Drew leads their assistants in Pictionary. Anything but more of this brand of basketball. Please.

I am supposed to love all pro basketball. I am not remotely attracted to Hawks vs. Pacers. What is wrong with me?

No. NO. The question is what is wrong with you, Hawks vs. Pacers?

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