Final three Pacers exhibition games are about growth and locking in a rotation

Tonight's Pacers preseason game in Evansville is number four of six.

Tonight’s Pacers preseason game in Evansville is number four of six.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment scheduled another Pacers preseason game in another heavily-populated Indiana town.

Last year, it was Fort Wayne, the second-largest city and the home of their Development Team, the Mad Ants. Tonight, the team, along with about one hundred team employees are in Evansville, the third-most populated city in Indiana.

For starters, it will be the first NBA game played at The Ford Center, an 11,000-seat facility that opened in 2011 and cost about $128 million. It’s home to minor league hockey, University of Evansville men’s and women’s basketball, plus concerts.

This is an opportunity for the Pacers, celebrating their 50th season as a franchise this season, to showcase their talents and professional basketball in another Indiana city. It’s a three-hour drive north to Indy for residents, so it’s rare for fans down there to regularly make the drive. But it’s not bad enough not to attend a game or two on the weekends.

For the players, it’s a chance to play in front of new fans and in a new environment. It’s a nice change of pace, if you will.

For coach Nate McMillan, he is not changing his approach. With three exhibition games left, the players building chemistry together is priority number one. From that, he wants to finalize his rotation.

“We’re planning to play our guys the next three games,” he said on Monday.

See Also: McMillan on the Pacers’ defense: ‘We got to get a lot better’

You can expect the starters to all play around 30 minutes, just like McMillan, who has never been to Evansville, plans to do during the regular season. You’ll see them also get minutes in the second and fourth quarters, so it’s not like they’ll play at the beginning and the end, and call it a night.

One disappointment for Pacers fans will be the expected absence of three-time NBA All-Star Paul George. He woke up with an illness on Monday and is doubtful to play. Myles Turner expects to play, but is limited to about 15 minutes as he builds back up his game conditioning and more. C.J. Miles (sore left knee) is probable.

The Pacers went 45-37 last year and earned the seventh seed in the playoffs. But they’ve got a whole new look — starting with Coach McMillan — and attitude to them.

There are two Indiana natives on the Pacers’ roster: Jeff Teague (Indianapolis) and Glenn Robinson III (Gary).

[Offensive pace set, but Pacers still in ‘beginning stages’]

Because it is a Pacers home game, it is on PS&E to staff the game — such as stats crew, game operations, dancers, etc. The game, which will tip off at 7:30 pm ET (6:30 pm Evansville time), can be seen on FOX Sports Indiana.

[FOX Sports Indiana televising 78 Pacers games — Eddie Gill to join network as an analyst]

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