Pacers 2016-17 schedule released, host Mavs in season opener

The Nate McMillan Era with the Indiana Pacers officially begins on Oct. 26 when they host the Dallas Mavericks to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in their season opener.

McMillan brings an old-school approach with a fresh perspective.

McMillan brings an old-school approach with a fresh perspective.

On Thursday, the NBA officially released the scheduled. And for the Pacers, that means 41 home games, 40 road games, and one across the pond in London.

After their home opener against Mark Cuban’s Mavericks, which includes Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and rookie A.J. Hammons out of Purdue. Then, they go on the road for their next two.

[Preseason schedule coming together]

It’s a favorable start for the Pacers. They kick off the year with 12 of their first 18 games on their home floor, and then they are on the road for seven of their next eleven contests.

One of the most anticipated games is sure to be in the first month of the season with former head coach Frank Vogel returns to the Fieldhouse for the first time, on November 14. He worked for the Pacers since 2007, but Larry Bird elected not to bring him back another season.

[Vogel introduced as Magic coach, clarifies what went down with the Pacers]

Their schedule appears to be well-constructed, and January is the month when they play the weakest opponents record-wise, based on last season … teams like the Nets, Knicks (twice), Nuggets, Magic, Kings (twice), and Timberwolves.

Here’s my annual breakdown of the Pacers schedule:

Back-to-Backs:

For the third straight season, the Pacers will have 17. Their first set follows the home opener at the end of October, and their final set is Games 74 and 75 of the season.

This was a priority for the league, dropping the average number of consecutive games to 16.3 per down — down from 17.8 last season.

Notable Home Games:

  • Nov. 12, Dec. 22 — coach Brad Stevens, Celtics
  • Nov. 14, Jan. 1 — coach Frank Vogel, Magic
  • Nov. 16, Feb. 8 — Cavaliers
  • Nov. 21 — All-Stars + David West, Warriors
  • Nov. 25, Jan. 5 — Yogi Ferrell, Nets
  • Dec. 12, Mar. 15 — Hornets, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson’s former team and Roy Hibbert’s new team
  • Dec. 19, Feb. 16 — Ian Mahinmi, Wizards
  • Jan. 7, Jan. 23 — Courtney Lee and “Super Team” Knicks
  • Jan 16 — Solomon Hill, Pelicans
  • Jan. 29 — Eric Gordon, Rockets
  • Feb. 6 — Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo — Thunder
  • Feb. 13 — Spurs
  • Feb. 14 — Troy Williams, Grizzlies
  • Mar. 20 — George Hill, Gordon Hayward, Trey Lyles, and Shelvin Mack, Jazz
  • Mar. 24 — Gary Harris, Nuggets

Holiday Games:

No, the Pacers won’t be showcased on Christmas Day, and they do not play their usual New Year’s Eve afternoon game.

They are, however, playing in one of four games on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Last year was an exception, but this will be their fifth time playing on MLK Jr. day over the last seven years.

On January 16th, they’ll host Solomon Hill and the New Orleans Pelicans at 4:00 p.m. in a game that will air on NBA TV.

National TV:

17 appearances.

FOUR on TNT
Dec. 22 vs. Boston; Jan. 23 vs. New York; Feb. 13 vs. San Antonio and Mar. 6 at Charlotte.

SEVEN on ESPN
Dec. 14 at Miami; Jan. 20 at the L.A. Lakers; Feb. 10 at Washington; Feb. 15 at Cleveland; Mar. 8 vs. Detroit; Mar. 31 at Toronto and Apr. 12 vs. Atlanta

SIX on NBA TV
Nov. 30 at Portland; Dec. 26 at Chicago; Jan. 12 at Denver (played in London); Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans; Mar. 12 vs. Miami and Mar. 19 at Toronto

(2015-16: 12; 2014-15: 8)

New Addition:

TNT has added a Monday night package that begins in January, after the NFL season concluded. Three of the Pacers’ four appearances on TNT are on Monday as part of that double-header package.

Jan. 23 vs New York
Feb. 13 vs San Antonio
March 6 vs Charlotte

Road Trips:

They have two trips with five straight games away from home, and another stretch of playing four of five on the road.

Nov. 30 – Dec. 9: Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State, Phoenix, Dallas
Jan. 18 – Jan. 26: Sacramento, Los Angeles (Lakers), Utah, vs New York, Minnesota
Feb. 25 – Mar. 6: Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, Charlotte

10 of 15 games in December are on the road.

(Last Year: They played four four-game road trips, including two in January..)

Homestands:

The Pacers play four consecutive home games twice and both are in November. In fact, it’s a stretch nine games in where they will play eight of their next nine games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Nov. 12 – Nov. 18: Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, Phoenix
Nov. 21 – Nov. 27: Golden State, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles (Clippers)

Then, in February, they’ll a stretch of 7 of nine games at home.

Feb. 4 – Feb. 24: Detroit, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, at Washington, Milwaukee, San Antonio, at Cleveland, Washington, Memphis

(Last year: One four-, and five-game homestand each.)

Games by the Day:

Sunday: 10
Monday: 15
Tuesday: 6
Wednesday: 18
Thursday: 8
Friday: 14
Saturday: 11

Close to the Regular Season:

They’ll play six of their final 11 games at home, including the regular-season finale — against the Atlanta Hawks, scheduled to air nationally on ESPN.

Even more, 10 of their final 19 games are at home. It’s a well-balanced schedule to close the season.

Full Schedule:

2016-17 Pacers reg. season schedule

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