One of the writers I enjoy reading most is George Pelecanos. His books are chock-full of scenes that could be considered padding. Clay and Karros rooting for an abysmal Wizards team in Shame The Devil stands out as a prominent example.
Scenes like this don't advance the plot and don't particularly flesh out the characters to any greater degree. But, they're great characters already and chill scenes like this allow the reader to spend more time hanging out with them. I assume this is the point of them and the diversions don't bother me in the least.
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