Pacers 2018-19 schedule released, includes 12 national TV appearances

Pacers basketball is just two months away. They’ll open the regular season Oct. 17 at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. Two of their first three games are at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and then they are on the road for five of their next six games.

Second-year President Kevin Pritchard will have nearly everyone back up top from last year’s team that went 48-34, including the coaching staff and the top six contributors.They added point guard Aaron Holiday in the draft and Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, and Kyle O’Quinn in free agency.

The biggest NBA news over the last 45 days is that LeBron James left the Eastern Conference for the first time of his career. It’s a conference that he has dominated, reaching the NBA Finals every year since 2011. That opens the door for a new team to step through, which we expect to be the Boston Celtics.

After that, the East appears to be wide open. The Pacers? Raptors? 76ers? Surprise team?

And that’s where the Pacers, led by All-NBA guard Victor Oladipo, hope to pick up where they left off. The majority of their players are in contract years, so they have something personal on the line. Officially, at this moment, Oladipo, McDermott, and Holiday are the only three players under contract for the 2019-20 season.

Look for the preseason schedule to be made official by the team next week. (Click here for dates we already know.)


Here’s my annual breakdown of the Pacers’ schedule:

Back-to-Backs: 14

Like last season, the Pacers will play on back-to-back nights 14 times, just above the league average this season of 13.3.

Previous Years:

2017-18: 14
2016-17:
 17
2015-16: 17
2014:15: 17

National TV: 12

Yeah, you read that right. The Pacers are penciled in for 12 national TV appearances after just one all of last season. Three on TNT, eight on ESPN, and one on ABC.

TNT: Thu., Jan. 17 v Philadelphia; Thu., Feb. 28 v Minnesota; Thu., Mar. 7 at Milwaukee.

*TNT owns the exclusive rights to its Thursday night telecasts so FOX Sports Indiana cannot televise those three games.

ESPN: Wed., Oct. 31 at New York; Wed., Nov. 7 v Philadelphia; Fri., Dec. 14 at Philadelphia; Fri., Jan. 11 at New York; Wed., Jan. 30 at Washington; Mon., Mar. 18 at Portland; Wed., Mar. 27 at Oklahoma City; Fri., Apr. 5 v Boston.

Their lone ABC appearance is one of six Sunday games televised on the network during the regular season. It’ll be on March 10th at Philadelphia (3:30 pm).

As you may have noticed — all four Pacers games against the 76ers will be televised nationally, including at least one by each network. The networks like Philly in the East, featuring them 27 times this season after 14 appearances in 2017-18.

Plus, five Pacers games will appear on NBA TV.

Previous Years:

2017-18: 1
2016-17:
11
2015-16: 7
2014-15: 5

Holiday Games: Nope

Some may celebrate while others are disappointed. But the Pacers won’t be one of 10 teams featured on Christmas Day, though they would like to.

And after a streak of appearances on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they are not included for the second straight year. It’s just their fourth time over the last nine years not playing on MLK Jr. Day.

Notable Home Games:

  • Oct. 17: Opening night against Memphis, featuring Indy products Mike Conley and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr., the fourth overall pick.
  • Nov. 3: Celtics, Brad Stevens, Gordon Hayward (second visit on Apr. 5)
  • Nov. 5: Rockets, only visit of the season from James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon…
  • Nov. 7: 76ers, Trust The Process makes their first of two appearances (second on Jan. 17)
  • Jan. 23: Raptors, new-look team from across the border with Kawhi Leonard
  • Jan. 28: Warriors, unlike last year, the reigning champs are visiting early in the season
  • Feb. 5: Lakers, LeBron, and Lance…
  • Mar. 14: Thunder, Paul George’s return + Russell Westbrook

Road Trips: 4

Three four-game roadies, plus one five-game road trip.

4: Nov. 26 – Dec. 1: Utah, Phoenix, Los Angeles (Lakers), Sacramento
4: Jan. 30 – Feb. 4: Washington, Orlando, Miami, New Orleans
4: Mar. 16 – Mar. 21: Denver, Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State
5: Jan. 4 – Jan. 11: Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, Boston, New York

While an earlier trip in January is their longest, it should be their easiest. They are all regional games, plus Toronto and Boston are the only two opponents that should pose a real threat.

Their most difficult month appears to be March, when they’ll travel almost 10,000 miles. Eight road games, including six over a two-weeks period with just one home game splashed in there. It also includes several playoffs teams, like Philadelphia, Oklahoma City (twice), Denver (twice), Portland, Golden State, and Boston.

Homestands: 5

3: Nov. 3 – Nov. 7: Boston, Houston, Philadelphia

3: Nov. 16 – Nov. 19: Miami, Atlanta, Utah

Notice how those two nearly run together. That’s a stretch with seven of 10 games at home in November.

3: Dec. 8 – Dec. 12: Sacramento, Washington, Milwaukee

… plus New York and Cleveland after a quick trip to Philadelphia. That’s five home games (and six games) over an 11-day period.

5: Jan. 15 – Jan. 23: Phoenix, Philadelphia, Dallas, Charlotte, Toronto

After their longest road trip of the season, the Pacers return home for the above five-game homestand. That allows them to recover and spend 10 days in their own beds.

6: Feb. 5 – Feb. 22: Los Angeles (Lakers), Los Angeles (Clippers), Cleveland, Charlotte, Milwaukee, New Orleans

Sandwiched between a four-game trip and a three-game roadie is this six-game stretch that will have the Pacers at home for much of February. That’s almost two and a half weeks, including the All-Star Break (Feb. 15 – 17 in Charlotte).

Games By Day:

Sunday: 8
Monday: 13
Tuesday: 9
Wednesday: 16
Thursday: 8
Friday: 14
Saturday: 14

Clearly it is a fairly even schedule, with the majority of Pacers games played on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Close to the Regular Season:

I always find this interesting. Who do they face as the season wraps up, and where.

The Pacers play four of their final six games at home. Orlando, Detroit (twice), Brooklyn, and Atlanta shouldn’t be very good. Leaving them with one challenging foe, Boston, on April 5th. And by that time, the Celtics may have already wrapped up home-court advantage.

Full Schedule:

Pacers, NBA Schedule

Single game tickets will go on-sale on Thursday, September 27


Previous Schedules:

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