The Indiana Pacers released the 2008-09 schedule today which instantly creates some dates of interest to add to the calendar. The Pacers do play the Celtics for their home opener, but they start the season on the road at Detroit. Yeesh, talk about hitting the ground running. Not the best way to start the season with a 1-2 punch against the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Here are some other items of interest from the schedule:
- Actually, the first month and a half of the season is quite brutal. If the Pacers can scratch out an 8-12 record after the first 20 games, life will be grand.
- Three of those first 20 games are against the Celtics.
- Eric Gordon and the L.A. Clippers make their one visit to the Fieldhouse on December 19th.
- Jermaine O'Neal returns to the Fieldhouse with the Raptors on January 16th. Marc Stein makes a good point that the TJ Ford/Jose Calderon matchup should be more intriguing, especially when the two go at it for the first time on December 10th in Toronto.
- Guaranteed sell out on January 28th as the Milwaukee Bucks along with disgraced, former IU coach and current Bucks' assistant, Kelvin Sampson, make their first appearance at the Fieldhouse. IU fans should be plenty riled up as the Hoosiers will be through the heart of the Big Ten schedule, likely with few wins to show for it. This of course is due to the complete rebuild necessitated after Sampson used a cell phone to torch the program to the ground. He may want to use that phone to call for extra security. I wish I was joking.
- Greg Oden and trading partners, the Portland Trail Blazers, make their annual visit on March 18th.
- The season closes in a friendly manner with seven of the final nine games at home, including the season finale on April 15th against the Bucks (Hello, Kelvin). Hopefully, those games are all meaningful.