Schedule's out, so time to circle the dates

Printable 2010-11 schedules: Complete | Home/road | By day | Also: Ticket packages

Nine of the first 12 are at home. So are seven of the last nine.

It's the other 61 sandwiched in between that could be more of a challenge to digest for the Pacers.

With the release of the 2010-11 schedule today, it's time for the annual rite of summer: making a printout and highlighting the most compelling dates. Let me save you some of the work.

  • The season opens on its earliest date in 25 years – Oct. 27 in San Antonio. Not since 1985, when the Pacers opened on Oct. 26, has the regular-season debuted earlier.
  • The home opener comes Oct. 30 against Evan Turner and the Philadelphia 76ers. Turner might feel right at home from his Big Ten tournament experience in Conseco Fieldhouse and the Pacers need to remember to pick him up as he crosses midcourt.
  • You'll have to wait to see the new big three as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat make their only visit on Feb. 15.
  • The Lakers' lone trip comes on Dec. 15.
  • Boston and its monopoly on O'Neals (Jermaine and Shaquille) comes in twice, on Dec. 28 and March 28.
  • Dwight Howard and Co. also make two appearances in Conseco Fieldhouse, on Nov. 20 and Jan. 26.
  • Fans of local college standouts will want to mark Gordon Hayward's first game in Indianapolis, which comes with Utah on Feb. 25; Eric Gordon's visit with the Clippers on Nov. 18; George Hill and the Spurs come to town on Jan. 7; and Greg Oden returns with Portland on Feb. 4.
  • Top pick John Wall might attract a large contingent from Kentucky when the Wizards come to town on Dec. 31 (a New Year's Eve day game) and again on April 6.
  • Holiday traditions will continue as the Pacers will play on the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26 against Oklahoma City) and the day after Christmas (Dec. 26 against Memphis).
  • The two toughest stretches of the schedule for the team come in late November and early December when they play seven of nine on the road, including a four-game Western Conference swing, and a brutal three-week stretch in March that brings 10 of 13 on the road, including three trips of three games each.Granger resumes work with Team USA

    The second phase of preparation for the 2010 World Basketball Championship begins today for Danny Granger when Team USA opens its formal training camp in New York. Granger is among 15 players competing for 12 roster spots and reportedly is dueling Oklahoma City's Jeff Green for the final forward slot.

    If he makes the cut, Granger will be very busy for the next month. After training camp this week, the U.S. team heads to Madrid, Spain, for a pair of exhibition gmaes, and then to Athens, Greece for another before opening play in the World Championship on Aug. 28 against Croatia.

    The U.S. would play nine games in 16 days if it reaches the championship game on Sept. 12.

    Best still playing after all these years

    Though he hasn't played in the NBA since 2005, Travis Best is still playing and hopes to continue his career at age 38.

    "I still have a lot of passion for the game," Best told 22News (WWLP) TV in his hometown of Springfield, Mass. "I still love to be out there and I find there's a lot of respect that comes with playing for this long."

    Best, who has played in Russia, Italy and Poland told the news outlet he hopes to play in Italy or Israel next season.

    "As I got older and I knew there was a lot of good basketball overseas, it's been a great experience," he said. "I'm just kind of sitting back and waiting to see what develops and I'm ready for whatever."

    Previous blogs

  • Aug. 4: Walton puts Hibbert through personal training camp
  • Aug. 2: Banner day in a busy summer for Granger
  • July 27: After Jamaica sojourn, Hibbert back to work
  • July 22: Site still spreading the word in China
  • July 15: Bird hits the hot buttons
  • July 9: First look at rookies was an eye-opener
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