Save the Dates: Analyzing Next Year's Schedule

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The 2009/10 Pacers schedule was released yesterday, and it actually looks pretty promising early.

Nine of the Pacers’ first 14 games are at home, and only five of the first 13 games are against opponents who made the Playoffs last season. For a re-tooled roster featuring at least five new faces, starting off the season well is important. Hopefully, a manageable November schedule will help them gel early and set the tone for more wins this year.

It looks like Santa has blessed the team as well. Just following Jesus’ birthday, from December 31 – January 15, the Pacers have a eight-game stretch where they play Memphis, Minnesota, New York, Orlando, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Toronto and Phoenix. Obviously, those teams may have improved over the summer, but the Magic are the only Playoff team from last season that the Pacers will play during that run.

On the other hand, the post-All-Star Break Playoff push is pretty brutal.

Feb 17  San Antonio
Feb 19 at New Orleans
Feb 20 at Houston
Feb 22 at Dallas
Feb 24 at Chicago
Feb 25  Milwaukee
Feb 27  Chicago

Mar 2 at L.A. Lakers
Mar 3 at Portland
Mar 5 at Denver
Mar 6 at Phoenix
Mar 9  Philadelphia
Mar 12 at Boston

Indy starts the second half of the season with nine out of 13 on the road and, even including the home games, the Bucks are the only cupcake team of the bunch. Injuries and other things could easily re-route a team like Portland, for example, towards mediocrity, but I think we can circle these 13 games on the calendar as a barometer to gauge how far the team has come.

In other news, the Pacers will play 22 back-to-backs, five of which are road/road and none of which are home/home. (Home/home back-to-backs are actually very rare. The NBA tries to avoid them, possibly because there is a belief that a home crowd would be burnt out/not show up for two straight nights, and there are only two home/home back-to-back sets scheduled across the entire League next season, both of which happen to hosted by the Bobcats in Charlotte.)

Sure, 22 is a lot of back-to-backs, but the average is about 20 per team and a few teams actually have to play 23 sets of them, so it could be a little worse. Here’s the full list via TrueHoop.

  • Charlotte Bobcats 23
  • Chicago Bulls 23
  • Detroit Pistons 23
  • Atlanta Hawks 22
  • Indiana Pacers 22
  • Houston Rockets 22
  • L.A. Clippers 22
  • Denver Nuggets 22
  • Milwaukee Bucks 22
  • Toronto Raptors 21
  • New Jersey Nets 21
  • Washington Wizards 21
  • Philadelphia 76ers 20
  • Memphis Grizzlies 20
  • L.A. Lakers 20
  • Golden State Warriors20
  • Sacramento Kings 20
  • Minnesota Timberwolves 20
  • Dallas Mavericks 20
  • Phoenix Suns 20
  • Orlando Magic 19
  • Utah Jazz  19
  • Portland Trail Blazers 19
  • New York Knicks 18
  • Boston Celtics 18
  • Miami Heat 18
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 18
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 18
  • San Antonio Spurs 17
  • New Orleans Hornets 16

And in what is likely the most important factor in gauging the national interest in the Indiana professional basketball, the Pacers, for he second straight season, have a total of zero games on either ABC or TNT. Their final game of the year in Washington on April 14 will be shown on ESPN, however, for whatever that’s worth, and they do have two games that will be broadcast on NBA TV at least — which I believe is twice as many as the one Pacer game that the League-run site aired last season. (The two games are Indiana @ Golden State on 11/30/09, and Utah @ Indiana on 3/26/09.)

I’m not sure Pacers fans should be surprised by any of this, honestly. Jimmy O’Brien’s offense is fun to watch, sure, but all the outside world (aside from Kelly Dwyer) really sees in Indiana these days is mostly boring, mediocrity.

And white people. They see lots of white people.

conseco fieldhouse

Hopefully, more people show up to the 41 games in Conseco this season.

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Tags: Bobcats Jim O'Brien Kelly Dwyer National TV Overly Caucasion Insinuation Schedule

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