May 2, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard George Hill (3) shoots against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter of game three in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Indiana Pacers 2012-2013 Schedule

The NBA has just released the schedules for all teams, and looking at the Pacers, this coming year, I am going to go out and say the Pacers win over 50 games AND take the division.  That’s right, I’m putting it all out there by saying this Pacers team could overtake the Chicago Bulls for the division.  With the way the Bulls played without Derrick Rose in the playoffs, and not having him for a good portion of this coming season, why not?

I don’t think the other teams in the Central Division are close to the Pacers and Bulls as far as team talent goes, so that should bode well for this team.  The Cavs could be an improving team, but don’t think they’ll get close this season.  The Pistons didn’t move much, and the Bucks aren’t a team to worry about therefore.  You would almost say it’s the Pacers or Bulls division to lose.

The Pacers will have some tests this coming season though, for example facing the San Antonio Spurs twice this season.  That was a game last year, where the Pacers made it look close, but I felt like the Spurs had that game the whole way through.  So it’s important to take care of that Spurs team, and show that the Pacers are making a step up.

The Pacers get a shot at the Bulls in early December, which might have a playoff feel after the way these teams have played each other the past couple of years. Once again, important to pick up those wins against a team like the Bulls can the Pacers are improving themselves and not taking steps back.

Other key games include a visit to Oklahoma City, where people have said that’s the loudest crowd they’ve encountered.  Last year, the Pacers were up double digits for most of the game against the Thunder, and held off a furious rally at the end, so that should be a fun game to watch.

The Miami Heat will make two trips here to Indianapolis February and March.  The Pacers got knocked out of the second round by the eventual NBA Champs, so another great test for the Pacers to see where they are.

The biggest thing is that the Pacers need to continue that turnaround of beating the teams that you’re supposed to beat, like the Pistons, Kings, Warriors, and those lower tier teams.  The schedule early on is favorable for the Pacers, so picking up early wins like last season puts them in a good position for the division title.

Just as important to finish, which the month of April, looks favorable as well.  There’s a three game window against the Wizards, Cavs, and Nets, who could all be out of the playoff picture, which means the Pacers should take care of business there.

Once again, 50 wins or more and a division title would be the ideal situation for this Pacers team.  Anything less than a playoff appearance would be a failure, so the Pacers need to go out and show that this team effort, not having a true superstar, can win titles.

What are your expectations for this year’s Pacers team?

2013 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

OCTOBER 
Wed, Oct 31
@ Toronto Raptors

NOVEMBER 
Fri, Nov 2
@ Charlotte Bobcats

Sat, Nov 3
vs Sacramento Kings

Mon, Nov 5
@ San Antonio Spurs

Wed, Nov 7
@ Atlanta Hawks

Fri, Nov 9
@ Minnesota Timberwolves

Sat, Nov 10
vs Washington Wizards

Tue, Nov 13
vs Toronto Raptors

Wed, Nov 14
@ Milwaukee Bucks

Fri, Nov 16
vs Dallas Mavericks

Sun, Nov 18
@ NY Knicks

Mon, Nov 19
@ Washington Wizards

Wed, Nov 21
vs New Orleans Hornets

Fri, Nov 23
vs San Antonio Spurs

Tue, Nov 27
@ Los Angeles Lakers

Fri, Nov 30
@ Sacramento Kings

DECEMBER
Sat, Dec 1
@ Golden State Warriors

Tue, Dec 4
@ Chicago Bulls

Wed, Dec 5
vs Portland Trailblazers

Fri, Dec 7
vs Denver Nuggets

Sun, Dec 9
@ Oklahoma City Thunder

Wed, Dec 12
vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Fri, Dec 14
vs Philadelphia 76ers

Sat, Dec 15
@ Detroit Pistons

Tue, Dec 18
@ Milwaukee Bucks

Wed, Dec 19
vs Utah Jazz

Fri, Dec 21
@ Cleveland Cavaliers

Sat, Dec 22
@ New Orleans Hornets

Wed, Dec 26
vs Chicago Bulls

Fri, Dec 28
vs Phoenix Suns

Sat, Dec 29
@ Atlanta Hawks

Mon, Dec 31
vs Memphis Grizzlies

JANUARY
Wed, Jan 2
vs Washington Wizards

Fri, Jan 4
@ Boston Celtics

Sat, Jan 5
vs Milwaukee Bucks

Tue, Jan 8
vs Miami Heat

Thu, Jan 10
vs NY Knicks

Sat, Jan 12
vs Charlotte Bobcats

Sun, Jan 13
@ Brooklyn Nets

Tue, Jan 15
@ Charlotte Bobcats

Wed, Jan 16
@ Orlando Magic

Fri, Jan 18
vs Houston Rockets

Mon, Jan 21
@ Memphis Grizzlies

Wed, Jan 23
@ Portland Trailblazers

Sat, Jan 26
@ Utah Jazz

Mon, Jan 28
@ Denver Nuggets

Wed, Jan 30
vs Detroit Pistons

FEBRUARY 
Fri, Feb 1
vs Miami Heat

Tue, Feb 5
vs Atlanta Hawks

Wed, Feb 6
@ Philadelphia 76ers

Fri, Feb 8
vs Toronto Raptors

Mon, Feb 11
vs Brooklyn Nets

Wed, Feb 13
vs Charlotte Bobcats

Wed, Feb 20
vs NY Knicks

Fri, Feb 22
vs Detroit Pistons

Sat, Feb 23
@ Detroit Pistons

Tue, Feb 26
vs Golden State Warriors

Thu, Feb 28
vs Los Angeles Clippers

MARCH
Fri, Mar 1
@ Toronto Raptors

Sun, Mar 3
vs Chicago Bulls

Wed, Mar 6
vs Boston Celtics

Fri, Mar 8
@ Orlando Magic

Sun, Mar 10
@ Miami Heat

Wed, Mar 13
vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Fri, Mar 15
vs Los Angeles Lakers

Sat, Mar 16

@Philadelphia 76ers

Mon, Mar 18
@ Cleveland Cavaliers

Tue, Mar 19
vs Orlando Magic

Fri, Mar 22
vs Milwaukee Bucks

Sat, Mar 23
@ Chicago Bulls

Mon, Mar 25
vs Atlanta Hawks

Wed, Mar 27
@ Houston Rockets

Thu, Mar 28
@ Dallas Mavericks

Sat, Mar 30
@ Phoenix Suns

April
Mon, Apr 1
@ Los Angeles Clippers

Fri, Apr 5
vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Sat, Apr 6
@ Washington Wizards

Tue, Apr 9
vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Fri, Apr 12
vs Brooklyn Nets

Sun, Apr 14
@ NY Knicks

Tue, Apr 16
@ Boston Celtics

Wed, Apr 17
vs Philadelphia 76ers

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