The Pacers Could Be the Best Team in the NBA on January 3

The NBA has released the Pacers’ 2011(barely)-2012 schedule. And boy oh boy oh boy did they get a nice Christmas present. The first eight days may feature five games, but there is only one back-to-back stretch of games. Plus, two of the first three will be played in Conseco Fieldhouse. But most importantly, they are arguably playing four of the worst six teams in the league during the initial stretch — including the borderline D-League Pistons twice.

That’s quite the gift considering training camp and the preseason will be truncated — especially for a young team like Indiana who will (let’s hope) be implementing a new offense now that Frank Vogel has had a whole offseason (and then some) to draw something up.

There’s a very good chance the Pacers will start the season 5-0.

After that, however, ouch. This schedule is nuts otherwise. I’m sure it’s not any worse than other squads in the league, but this is just crazy.

Some fun facts:

  • 0 national TV games YET AGAIN despite making the playoffs last year (4 on NBA TV)
  • 15 of the first 22 games are on the road
  • 17 back-to-backs
  • 2 back-to-back-backs
  • 13 games during the first 22 days of February.
  • from 1/31-3/29, only 5 games are NOT part of either a back-to-back or a back-to-back-to-back.
  • major road trips from 1/18-2/3 with 8 of 10 away
  • GS, MIN and NO are the only Western Conference they play twice
  • UPDATE: One nice part about all the early road trips though: 7 of the last 10 are at home — and only 3 of those vs. 2011 playoff teams. (PHI twice and CHI in Conseco)
  • Another “positive”: Of the Pacers 6 games played in back-to-back-to-back sets, 4 are @WAS, @MIL, NJ, @CLE. The other 2 are PHX, MIA at home.
  • UPDATE II: I was under the impression virtually all teams had 2 back-to-back-to-back sets and some teams even have 3. That’s apparently not the case. In fact, Indy is only 1 of 10 teams with 2 sets. So … I guess the quote marks in that last bullet point don’t even really apply. Says Howard Beck of the New York Times: “The 10 unlucky teams w/ 2 sets of back-to-back-to-backs: Atl, Det, Ind, LAC, Minnesota, NJ, Philly, Phoenix, Portland and San Antonio.”

Good lord. Forget about the players — I’m not sure I can handle this.

Then again, at least I’m not mandated to go on all road trips like Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. As he noted on Twitter, he now has some new holiday plans.

@MrMichaelLee Don’t worry, I get to spend New Years Eve in Detroit this year.

Festive.

——

December
Monday 26 vs. Detroit – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 28 @ Toronto 6:00 pm
Friday 30 vs. Cleveland – 7:00 pm
Saturday 31 @ Detroit 6:00 pm

January
Monday 02 @ New Jersey – 7:30 pm
Wednesday 04 @ Miami – 7:30 pm
Friday 06 @ Boston – 7:30 pm
Saturday 07 vs. Charlotte – 7:00 pm
Monday 09 @ Philadelphia – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 11 vs. Atlanta – 7:00 pm
Friday 13 @ Toronto – 7:00 pm
Saturday 14 vs. Boston – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 18 @ Sacramento – 10:00 pm
Friday 20 @ Golden State – 10:30 pm
Sunday 22 @ LA Lakers – 9:30 pm
Tuesday 24 vs. Orlando – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 25 @ Chicago – 8:00 pm
Friday 27 @ Boston – 7:30 pm
Sunday 29 @ Orlando 6:00 pm
Tuesday 31 vs. New Jersey – 7:00 pm

February
Wednesday 01 @ Minnesota – 8:00 pm
Friday 03 @ Dallas – 8:30 pm
Saturday 04 vs. Orlando – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 07 vs. Utah – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 08 @ Atlanta – 7:30 pm
Friday 10 @ Memphis – 8:00 pm
Saturday 11 vs. Denver – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 14 vs. Miami – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 15 @ Cleveland – 7:30 pm
Thursday 16 vs. New Jersey – 7:00 pm
Sunday 19 vs. Charlotte 6:00 pm
Tuesday 21 vs. New Orleans – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 22 @ Charlotte – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 28 vs. Golden State – 7:00 pm

March
Saturday 03 @ New Orleans – 8:00 pm
Monday 05 @ Chicago – 8:00 pm
Tuesday 06 vs. Atlanta – 7:00 pm
Saturday 10 @ Miami – 7:30 pm
Sunday 11 @ Orlando 6:00 pm
Tuesday 13 vs. Portland – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 14 vs. Philadelphia – 7:00 pm
Friday 16 @ New York – 7:30 pm
Saturday 17 vs. New York – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 20 vs. LA Clippers – 7:00 pm
Thursday 22 @ Washington – 7:00 pm
Friday 23 vs. Phoenix – 7:00 pm
Saturday 24 @ Milwaukee – 8:30 pm
Monday 26 vs. Miami – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 28 @ New Jersey – 7:30 pm
Thursday 29 vs. Washington – 7:00 pm
Saturday 31 @ San Antonio – 8:30 pm

April
Sunday 01 @ Houston – 7:00 pm

Tuesday 03 vs. New York – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 04 @ Washington – 7:00 pm
Friday 06 vs. Oklahoma City – 7:00 pm
Saturday 07 vs. Boston – 7:00 pm
Monday 09 vs. Toronto – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 11 @ Cleveland – 7:00 pm
Friday 13 vs. Cleveland – 7:00 pm
Saturday 14 @ Milwaukee – 8:30 pm
Monday 16 vs. Minnesota – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 17 @ Philadelphia – 7:00 pm
Thursday 19 vs. Milwaukee – 7:00 pm
Saturday 21 vs. Philadelphia – 7:00 pm
Monday 23 vs. Detroit – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 25 vs. Chicago – 7:00 pm

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