This may be the most forgettable playoff series ever. And that’s really a shame, because both the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks should (in theory) have a lot going for them.
The Pacers play ball that your granddad could be proud of – crashing the boards, playing gritty defense and eschewing star power for kids like Lance Stephenson and Jeff Pendergraph.
And the Hawks feature Josh Smith, one of the most electric players that everyone seems to forget about. They’re a perennial playoff team in a solid basketball city.
But both teams finished in the bottom six in attendance figures, reminding us that just sometimes, winning isn’t everything. The two teams combined to lose nine out of their last 12, stumbling into the playoffs with an air of tired complacency that will get you nowhere in the playoffs.
I think we’ll see this reflected in the games. Neither team has the firepower to make a title run this year (although the Pacers have proved they can matchup with the best) and I don’t see a passion in either team to make this THE year. You see Nate Robinson leading the Bulls and they really play like they’ve got something to lose – or the Nuggets who just look like they’re having fun. Those are the teams that surprise you in the end.
And I just don’t see it here. This won’t make for exciting basketball – so I think these games are destined for low intrigue and lower ratings.
As far as the actual matchup goes, it’s really the Pacers’ to lose. They’ve got enough firepower (assuming Paul George is healthy enough) to consistently put up points, and their defense is rock solid. If the Hawks can maintain high percentages (which I don’t think they will), there’s a chance for an upset here.