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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)
INDIANAPOLIS — When the lighting at Bankers Life Fieldhouse looks different at Pacers' games this season, it is not your imagination.
A new LED lighting system has been installed in the arena, putting the spotlight on the court while darkening the seats. It creates a Broadway-stage type atmosphere, and the new system is more versatile and energy efficient. But for the players, the new lighting and depth perception take some getting used to.
Coach Nate McMillan wanted to give players more time to adjust before Wednesday's season-opener against the Brooklyn Nets. So the Pacers moved their practices this week from their new downtown St. Vincent practice facility to Bankers Life.
"With the different lighting, we wanted to give our guys shots over here," McMillan said after Monday's practice. "It is a difference, with the bowl pretty much being dark, and the floor having the lights. I think it's always good to shoot in your building as much as possible."
McMillan said the Pacers would also have game day shoot-arounds at Bankers Life this season, rather than at St. Vincent. Eventually, the new lightning will become normal for players. But the Pacers only had one preseason home game, and afterward, the new lights were a topic of conversation.
Asked if he liked the new lights, center Myles Turner said, "I don't know yet. I liked the lighting a little bit better last year, but I feel like it'll grow on me. It just takes some getting used to. It's kind of like that center stage kind of feel."
Pacers guard-forward Lance Stephenson was not sold on the new lighting either.
"It's all right," said Stephenson. "I like the bright lights. I like feeling like everybody's involved. I feel like (now) it's just on us. We're going to get used to it."
In their lone home preseason game, the Pacers defeated Haifa Maccabi, 108-89, and shot 9 for 22 from three-point range. Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was not complaining about the new lights afterward. He shot 4 for 5 from beyond the arc.
Playing well at home, where the Pacers were 29-12 last season, is one of their primary goals. They cannot use the new lighting system as an excuse for shooting poorly, especially since several NBA arenas already feature the same style of lighting, including Madison Square Garden where the New York Knicks play, and the Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers play.
Once the Pacers have a hot shooting night, talk about the new lights in the locker room will cease. But for the opener, McMillan thought it was best to practice at the team's home arena for a few days. When the lights go on Wednesday night, McMillan wants to see the Pacers' jump shots go in.
Pacers vs. Brooklyn, 7 p.m. Wednesday on FSIN, YES
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