One of the beautiful parts of sitting down every night and flipping on the NBA slate is there's a good chance that by the end of the night you're going to see something pretty fucking awesome. Maybe it's some NBA history, maybe it's a guy going nuclear, and maybe it's a game like tonight against the Pacers and Hawks. With so much pushback about the In Season Tournament, you have to admit pretty much every game we've seen so far has been awesome. While I may think Adam Silver is braindead when it comes to officiating problem, the man is kind of on a heater when it comes to new ideas. The Play In Tournament is awesome, and based on everything we've see so far, so is the In Season Tournament.
Nobody may care about the stakes yet, but that will take time. What matters is that we're getting entertaining games that are fun as hell, which is exactly how I would describe what took place tonight in Atlanta
In season tournament, regular season, playoffs, who cares? That was one of the most exciting games of basketball you'll ever see.
If there's one thing we know about the Pacers, it's that they have as much firepower as any team in the league. In fact, the Pacers own the #1 offense in the NBA with a 122.6 rating. Scoring a shit ton of points is what they do. Unfortunately for them, they also give up a shit ton of points, as shown by their 29th ranked defense. This is the same team that gives up 155 to Boston in regulation and then a few days later puts up 151 in regulation themselves in a blowout over the Spurs.
The Hawks are a team that has definitely been playing better than their record indicates, and is a team that we know can get hot from 3 who also doesn't exactly play a ton of defense. You can two high powered offenses against each other where everyone decides to show less effort on defense than you'll get in the All Star Game, that's a recipe for an explosion of points.
In terms of all time, a final score of 309 points puts this game tied with the Bucks vs Sonics in 1989 for 16th all time. You may remember it wasn't too long ago we had another one of these offensive explosions back when the Kings and Clippers faced off in February of 2023. That game produced 351 points, which is 2nd all time. It's only a matter of time before someone catches Nuggets vs Pistons and their 370 back in 1983. Those Nuggets were basically just like these Pacers in a sense they score a billion points while allowing a billion points, so it wouldn't shock me if IND is involved when it happens.
What's crazy about tonight's game is both teams came out firing essentially right away. Hawks up 40-34 after the first quarter, an 86-73 score at the half, the Hawks basically couldn't miss. But like so many games in the NBA do, this thing flipped in an instant with the Pacers coming out with a massive 46 point 3rd quarter on 72/81% splits. To go 9-11 from deep in a single quarter simply doesn't happen, and suddenly we had ourselves a rock fight over the final 12 minutes.
The fact that even then. Even with a game in the balance neither side could play a lick of defense (both allowed 38 points) is why this game ruled. While defense is important when it comes to winning a title, sometimes basketball it at it's best when all you get is unstoppable offense on both sides. Crazy shot making, monster dunks, that's what puts the asses in the seats
Also, we should probably be making a HUGE deal about what's happening with Tyrese Haliburton this season
Haliburton erupted in that 3rd quarter with 26 of the 46 on 8-9 (7-8) while playing all 12 minutes, and none of this should have been a surprise. There's taking a leap, and then there's whatever the hell we're watching with Haliburton right now. I thought his jump last year was as good as it was going to get, and he's done nothing but blow it completely out of the water. He's taken his strong showing in FIBA with Team USA and turned it into an MVP season? Is that too much? First Team All NBA? Maybe that's better.
Either way, at the end of the day I think we're learning that maybe we need to give these tournament games a chance. You may hate to say it, but Adam Silver has sneaky delivered.