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Indiana Pacers set to close preseason at home against Maccabi Haifa

Basketball — or, at least something like it — is coming.

2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers have officially released the team’s four-game preseason schedule, which features only one contest at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 18, against Maccabi Haifa.

Facing off against the 2016-17 Israeli Super League runner-up is a fitting international match-up for the Pacers, since they selected only the third Israeli to make it to the NBA with the No. 18 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Rookie forward T.J. Leaf was born in Tel Aviv while his father was playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Prior to that contest of interest, the Pacers will open their exhibition slate on the road against the Bucks on October 4, with games against the Cavaliers (Oct. 6) and Pistons (Oct. 9) to follow.

Given that the team made it somewhat of a practice to visit other parts of the state each of the last two preseasons (Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Evansville’s Ford Center), it’s mildly surprising that they won’t be visiting a neutral site this go-around.

Doing so certainly would’ve been in keeping with the team’s brand refresh, which through the usage of that rudimentary-looking secondary state logo as well as the “We Grow Basketball Here” mantra emphasizes that they represent the entire state (well, at least the rural portions), rather than solely the city where they are located.

Here’s a look at the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 4 @ Milwaukee Bucks, BMO Harris Bradley Center, 8:00 PM
  • Friday, Oct. 6 @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Quicken Loans Arena, 7:30 PM
  • Monday, Oct. 9 @ Detroit Pistons, Little Caesars Arena, 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10 vs. Maccabi Haifa, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 7:00 PM

Notice, here, that the Pacers are playing two fewer exhibition games than they did last season due to the fact that the NBA is tipping-off the regular season eight days earlier (Oct. 17) in an effort to limit back-to-backs and eliminate the dreaded 4-in-5s.

Regardless of rest prioritization, condensing the preseason schedule is a welcome change as the back end of the superfluous slate was slowly becoming more about aloofly allowing training camp invites to showcase themselves to potential suitors rather than attempting to simulate games in preparation for the regular season.

However, with eight new players added to the roster and Paul George’s starting spot possibly up for grabs, the typically meaningless basketball could potentially carry greater meaning for the team’s 2017-18 rebuild.