The dates are now set for the entirety of the Pacers/Magic first round series. We also have times and broadcast stations for the first four. Exact tip times for games five, six and seven remain TBD — but Pacers fans are hoping those won’t be necessary anyway.
Game one is on ESPN in prime time, which is nice. Game four also has a nice afternoon slot (after two days rest importantly) on the Worldwide Leader as well. Unsurprisingly, the weeknight games are getting the red-headed step-child treatment by airing on NBA TV, but we all knew that was coming. With no Dwight Howard, this really is the least marquee first-round series in either conference, especially if the Pacers handle their business and keep it uncompetitive. As they should.
The only odd thing that jumps out about this schedule is that there is only one day of rest between games two and three. Historically, there is usually an extra day for travel in there, and the Pacers/Magic and Heat/Knicks are the only two first-round series of the eight total that don’t have one this year. Granted, it’s 2012 and these guys have a chartered plane and the flight from Indianapolis to Orlando isn’t grueling. But it still means the Pacers (and Magic) will have to fly out a few hours after their Monday night game, not get to Orlando until super late, not get to sleep until even super later and then do a shootaround the next day. Again, after the crazy, compressed schedule these teams were forced to play all season, this probably will not affect their play or preparedness to a staggering degree. The extra day of rest is just another casualty of the lockout, however. And they do get that extra day between games three and four so exhaustion can’t be an excuse for either. (They also do have a travel day, if needed, between games four and five and between games five and six, if necessary. Tiredness definitely can’t be used as an excuse.)
Really, this could hurt Orlando much worse than Indiana as road teams that fall down 0-2 will likely want that extra day of preparation/rest much more than a home team that is up 2-0 and just wants to stomp on their opponent’s neck. If Indiana loses home court advantage by dropping either games one or two, however … yeah, that will be one more hurdle they’ll have to jump over so as not to get upset.
Indiana vs. Orlando
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD