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Pacers release preseason schedule bereft of home games

NBA basketball — or, at least something like it — is only 48 days away.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers today announced the team’s four-game preseason schedule, a slate that features exactly zero (yes, zero) games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, nor any field trips to off-site locations around the state.

After only playing host to Maccabi Haifa in 2017, it appears that staying away from Indy is starting to become somewhat of a trend for the Pacers. As of now, with 28 franchises having officially released their preseason schedules, Indiana is the only team without a game in which they are designated as the home team.

The only event listed on the calendar for Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the dates in which the Pacers are scheduled to be on the road is a concert when they’ll be in action against the Rockets on October 4, so perhaps Indiana’s decision-makers just prefer that the team gets an early jump on sharpening their execution in opposing arenas.

Among the slew of road games on the docket is a practice return to Memphis for Tyreke Evans on October 6, which will mark his first appearance in uniform at FedExForum since before he was (presumably) held out for the final 10 games of the season to improve his former team’s lottery odds.

Indiana will follow-up their visit to Memphis with a trip to Cleveland to face the reigning Eastern Conference Champions (sans LeBron James) before wrapping up their exhibition slate against Chicago.

Here’s a look at the full schedule:

Notice, above, that the Pacers are again playing two fewer games than they did two seasons ago as a result of the NBA tipping the regular season earlier in an effort to limit back-to-backs.

Condensing the preseason schedule was a welcome change last season, particularly given that the back end of the superfluous slate was slowly becoming more about allowing the training camp invites to showcase themselves to potential suitors rather than attempting to simulate games. However, the downside was that doing so cutback on training camp and seemed to unintentionally result in some teams needing to play catch-up in terms of conditioning.

As such, Victor Oladipo setting the team’s offseason effort standard with Myles Turner following his lead could end up paying dividends during the stretch-run of the season when 13 of the team’s final 23 games are on the road.

After finishing exhibition play on October 10, the Pacers will have a week to prepare for their season opener at home against the Grizzlies.