The 1999-2000 Indiana Pacers season was Indiana's 24th season in the NBA. It was the 1st season Indiana played at the Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers finished first in the Central Division with a 56-26 record, and went to the 2000 NBA Finals for the first time, only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
The Pacers began a new era by moving into Conseco Fieldhouse after 25 years at Market Square Arena. They would start the season with a 7-7 record but finished with a 56-26 record, good enough to win their 2nd straight division title. The Pacers even won 25 straight games at their new arena.
In the first round of the playoffs, the top-seeded Pacers went to five games against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the second round, the Pacers would beat the Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games. This would lead to a rematch with the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers took Game 5 at home to take a 3-2 series lead. The Pacers would clinch the series in 6 games as Reggie Miller scored 34 points. The Pacers reached the NBA Finals but found themselves outmatched by a Los Angeles Lakers team that had Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers won the NBA Finals in 6 games. Following the season, Head Coach Larry Bird would step down, citing the daily grind of coaching.
Lakers' backup center John Salley became the first player in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning franchises, as he won titles in 1989 and '90 with the Detroit Pistons and 1996 with the Chicago Bulls.
After closing out game 6, fans rioted outside Staples Center by making bonfires, tipping cars, breaking windows of cars and buildings, and vandalizing businesses around the area. Overall, they caused $1 million in damages. In Lakers' championship run the following year, the LAPD came out in bigger force after the Lakers won and prevented the same thing from happening again.
Staples Center, which was a first-year building in 2000, had a very tricky shooting background and opposing teams often had difficulty shooting there. Pacers coach Larry Bird wanted to have a shoot-around in the arena the day before Game 6 to help his team shoot more consistently because they shot very poorly in Games 1 and 2. However, the Pacers couldn't practice in the building because of an Arena Football game. Bird was very upset about this, and his team had to go down to the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo.