Breaking down the Pacers’ 2023-24 schedule, beginning Oct. 25 against the Wizards
The NBA regular season runs from Oct. 25 to April 14. League notes, back-to-backs, key home dates, games by day, and more.
The Indiana Pacers begin a new chapter on Wednesday, October 25th. And for the second straight year, they host the Washington Wizards on opening night.
It’s also the night top pick Jarace Walker will make his NBA debut. Remember, he was technically drafted by the Wizards, too, because of a smart draft-night trade executed by the Pacers to slide back one spot and pick up additional future picks.
The Pacers have a home-friendly stretch to begin the season, mostly at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the first three weeks of the season: Seven of their first nine games, including two of their first three, and then five in a row.
The best stretch of home games? Four games in January against the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies. And it doesn’t look good if you want to see the Warriors’ stars or Victor Wembanyama in action. (See below)
The Pacers have 11 returning players, two newcomers plus two rookies on the core-15 roster.
Head coach Rick Carlisle and his staff will be starting their third season in Indy. The one change to the bench: assistant coach Ronald Nored is out and Jim Boylen was brought on full-time after being in a consultant role last season. And they plan to operate together differently, moving away from a coordinator system.
After winning 25 games during the 2022-23 season, the Pacers finished last season 35-47.
The early odds for wins next season: 37.5.
It’s always telling to see how the NBA treats different teams. Based on the Pacers’ schedule, the league doesn’t expect for them to be good or interesting. They were assigned just one nationally televised game.
Bally Sports Indiana will once again serve as the local TV home of the team. And for now, they plan to air every game they can — all but the TNT game because that’s a network exclusive.
You will notice that the schedule lists 80 games. At least two more games will be determined based on the In-Season Tournament, and the two teams that reach the finals will play one additional game.
And now it’s time for my 12th annual breakdown of the schedule.
🏀 League-wide Notes
Opening Night on TNT on Tuesday, Oct. 24: Lakers at Nuggets, Suns at Warriors.
FIVE games on Christmas: Bucks at Knicks, Warriors at Nuggets, Celtics at Lakers, 76ers at Heat, Mavericks at Suns.
All-Star Break: Feb. 15-22. But we’ll be plenty busy with Indianapolis hosting NBA All-Star Weekend for the first time since 1985.
And it’s no surprise their final three games before the break are on the road. That allows for the city and The Fieldhouse to get ready.
No games on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 7 — for the second straight season.
The NBA is continuing Rivals Week from Jan. 23-27 with 11 nationally televised games, though I’d argue there aren’t many rivalries in the league anymore. Seriously, do the Pacers have a current rival? Nah. (The NBA scheduled them to play the Nuggets, 76ers and Suns.)
All 30 teams play their final regular-season game on Sunday, April 14. The Eastern Conference teams will play at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the Western Conference teams at 3:30 p.m.
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is suspended for the first 25 games of the season. That suspension should be completed by the time the Pacers are in Memphis on. Dec. 21.
🗓️ Preseason Dates
The preseason schedule trickled out last week and is now confirmed by the Pacers. (Individual teams line up their exhibition slate, not the NBA.)
Sunday, Oct. 8: at Memphis Grizzlies — 8:00 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Oct. 10: at Houston Rockets — 8:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 16: v Atlanta Hawks — 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20: v Cleveland Cavaliers — 7:00 p.m.