The NBA is making an event, to a degree, out of releasing the schedules for the next season. Not unlike the NFL, you pretty much know who you’re going to face every season. In the NBA, you play each and every team at least once.
It’s not a big surprise. There are no weird scheduling flukes like having to travel multiple weeks in a row, or having a game in London for some reason. All we learn from this release is how many game the Eastern Conference runners-up will play on national TV.
Even then, the games could be flexed out much like last season when ESPN picked up a meaningless game during the Miami Heat’s almost historic win streak. A game that turned out to be after the streak was broken.
With the Pacers now being among the NBA elite, they should be getting their fair share of nationally televised games, and maybe even one on Christmas. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Take a look at the schedule here.
The Pacers have just two games on TNT. They’ll have seven on NBA TV and eight games on ESPN. No games on ABC for Indiana this season. That’s a total of 17 games that will reach the whole nation.
Indianapolis is a smaller market, but at their best the Colts were on Sunday or Monday night football every other week.
- 10/29/13 – Orlando Magic – Its opening day, and the Pacers will host IU-grad Victor Oladipo. Former Purdue great E’Twaun Moore is also on the Magic’s roster. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser and could lead to a lot of fans cheering for the other team. The Pacers also host Orlando on 2/3/14.
- 11/6/13 – Chicago Bulls (ESPN) – Derrick Rose is supposed to be back for the Bulls, but I’m not holding my breath. Chicago fans don’t think the Pacers will be able to compete with a Bulls team led by Rose. Really? No, really?
- 12/10/13 – Miami Heat – The first game vs the Heat. It comes on the heels of a five game road trip that ends with San Antonio and Oklahoma City. The scheduling gods are doing the Pacers no favors.
- 12/13/13 – Charlotte Bobcats – Not much of a game, but IU-grad Cody Zeller is a Bobcat now and IU fans will turnout to see him play as well. Doubt there will be too many fans rooting for the Bobcats because, why would you?
- 12/18/13 – @Miami Heat (ESPN) – Not much time between games with the Heat. Also, the game is AT Miami is on ESPN, where they have a better chance of winning.
- 12/20/13 – Houston Rockets – Pacers host the Dwight Howard led Rockets. Anyone want to give me the odds of Howard being worth his contract?
- 12/22/13 – Boston Celtics – Former Butler coach Brad Stevens comes to town for the first time. It will be interesting to see how he is greeted by the fans. Its hard not to root for Stevens, he is far too likable and is such a good coach.
- 1/16/14 – New York Knicks (TNT) – This isn’t the first time the two will meet, but its the first at home. It will also be on TNT which generally means Reggie Miller will call the game (if he doesn’t call the Knicks-Pacers game, then what the heck is TNT doing?).
- 2/25/14 – LA Lakers – While the Lakers are destined to be a horrible team this year, they are still a fan favorite. This game generally draws a sellout crowd but that will depend on how Kobe Bryant’s recovery from a torn achilles is going.
There are a number of difficult stretches for the Pacers.
- Nov. 16-22: at Chicago, at Brooklyn, at Boston. The last game shouldn’t be all that tough, but after the first two it will be a challenge.
- Dec. 1-8: at LA Clippers, at Portland, at Utah, at San Antonio, at Oklahoma City. The annual West Coast road trip (Part I). Its made even harder with a game against the Heat when they get home, as we mentioned before. Going 2-3 in this stretch wouldn’t be so bad, but the expectations for the Pacers should see them win the majority of those games.
- Jan. 20-28: at Golden State, at Phoenix, at Sacramento, at Denver, at LA Lakers. West Coast road trip (Part II). This one isn’t nearly as brutal as the first, and the Pacers should go 4-1 during this stretch at worst.
- March 19-26: at New York, vs Chicago, at Memphis, at Chicago, vs Miami. This stretch is absolutely brutal. That’s four playoff teams, the Western Conference runners-up and the reigning NBA Champs. It will be a great test as the season nears an end.
The season wraps-up with a tough back-to-back where the Pacers will be at Miami on April 11th and then return home to host the Thunder on the 13th (and then down to Orlando to close out the regular season). Four of the final six games are on the road for the Pacers as well.
The Pacers will be looking to improve on last season, and winning somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 games.
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Topics: Indiana Pacers