|Founded||1967 (Joined NBA in 1976)|
|Arena||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|Team colors||Navy, Gold, Silver, White
|General manager||Kevin Pritchard|
|Head coach||Frank Vogel|
|D-League affiliate||Fort Wayne Mad Ants|
ABA: 3 (1970, 1972, 1973)
|Conference titles||1 (2000)|
ABA: 3 (1969, 1970, 1971)
NBA: 6 (1995, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2013, 2014)
|Retired numbers||5 (31, 30, 34, 35, 21)|
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Pacers were first established in 1967 as members of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and became members of the NBA in 1976 as a result of the ABA-NBA merger. They play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers have had great success since being established. They have contended in the playoffs for various years. They were, in fact referred to as a dynasty in the ABA. They have won three championships, all in the ABA. The Pacers were Eastern Conference champions in 2000. The team has won eight division titles. Five Hall of Fame players - Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels, and Roger Brown - played with the Pacers for multiple seasons.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Arena history
- 3 Uniforms
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Players
- 6 Head coaches
- 7 Statistics
- 8 Individual awards
- 9 References
- 10 External links
1967–1976: ABA dynasty
In early 1967, a group of six investors (among them attorney Richard Tinkham, John DeVoe, Chuck DeVoe, sports agent Chuck Barnes and Indianapolis Star sports writer Bob Collins) pooled their resources to purchase a franchise in the proposed American Basketball Association.
Early in the Pacers' second season, former Indiana Hoosiers standout Bob "Slick" Leonard became the team's head coach, replacing Larry Staverman. Leonard quickly turned the Pacers into a juggernaut. His teams were buoyed by the great play of superstars such as Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount and Roger Brown. The Pacers were – and ended – as the most successful team in ABA history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league's nine-year history: a feat that was never bettered by any other ABA franchise.
1976–1987: Early NBA struggles
The Pacers were one of four ABA teams that joined the NBA in the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. For the 1976–77 season the Pacers were joined in the merged league by the Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs.
The league charged a $3.2 million entry fee for each former ABA team. Since the NBA would only agree to accept four ABA teams in the ABA-NBA merger, the Pacers and the three other surviving ABA teams also had to compensate the two remaining ABA franchises which were not a part of the merger, the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels. As a result of the merger, the four teams dealt with financial troubles. Additionally, the Pacers had some financial troubles which dated back to their waning days in the ABA; they had begun selling off some of their star players in the last ABA season. The new NBA teams also were barred from sharing in national TV revenues for four years.
The Pacers finished their inaugural NBA season with a record of 36–46. Billy Knight and Don Buse represented Indiana in the NBA All-Star Game. However, this was one of the few bright spots of the Pacers' first 13 years in the NBA. During this time, they had only three non-losing seasons and only two playoff appearances.
A lack of continuity became the norm for most of the next decade, as they traded away Knight and Buse before the 1977–78 season even started. They acquired Adrian Dantley in exchange for Knight, but Dantley (who was averaging nearly 27 points per game at the time) was traded in December, while the Pacers' second-leading scorer, John Williamson, was dealt in January.
The early Pacers came out on the short end of two of the most one-sided trades in NBA history. In 1980, they traded Alex English to the Nuggets in order to reacquire former ABA star George McGinnis. McGinnis was long past his prime, and contributed very little during his two-year return. English, in contrast, went on to become one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. The next year, they traded a 1984 draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Tom Owens, who played one year for the Pacers with little impact. In 1983–84, the Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, which would have given the Pacers the second overall pick in the draft—the pick that the Blazers used to select Sam Bowie while Michael Jordan was still available. As a result of the Owens trade, they were left as bystanders in the midst of one of the deepest drafts in NBA history—including such future stars as Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.
Clark Kellogg was drafted by the Pacers in the 1982 and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but the Pacers finished the 1982–83 season with their all-time worst record of 20–62, and won only 26 games the following season. After winning 22 games in 1984–85 and 26 games in 1985–86, Jack Ramsay replaced George Irvine as coach and led the Pacers to a 41–41 record in 1986–87 and their second playoff appearance as an NBA team. Chuck Person, nicknamed "The Rifleman" for his renowned long-range shooting, led the team in scoring as a rookie and won NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Their first playoff win in NBA franchise history was earned in Game 3 of their first-round, best-of-five series against the Atlanta Hawks, but it was their only victory in that series, as the Hawks defeated them in four games.
1987–2005: The Reggie Miller era
Reggie Miller was drafted by the Pacers in 1987, beginning his career as a backup to John Long. Many fans at the time disagreed with Miller's selection over Indiana Hoosiers' standout Steve Alford. The Pacers missed the playoffs in 1987–88, drafted Rik Smits in the 1988 NBA Draft, and suffered through a disastrous 1988–89 season in which coach Jack Ramsay stepped down following an 0–7 start. Mel Daniels and George Irvine filled in on an interim basis before Dick Versace took over the 6–23 team on the way to a 28–54 finish. In February 1989, the team traded veteran center Herb Williams to the Dallas Mavericks for future NBA Sixth Man-of-the Year Detlef Schrempf.
From 1989 - 1993, the Pacers would play at or near .500 and qualify for the playoffs. Despite four straight first round exits, this period was highlighted by a first round series with the Boston Celtics in 1991 that went to Game 5. The Pacers lost 3-2 and were swept the following season by the Celtics. In 1993, they lost 3-1 to their new rival the New York Knicks.
Larry Brown was brought aboard as Pacers' coach for the 1993–94 season, and Pacers' general manager Donnie Walsh completed a then highly-criticized trade as he sent Schrempf to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Derrick McKey and little known Gerald Paddio. But the Pacers won their last eight games of the season to finish with an NBA-era franchise-high 47 wins. They stormed past Shaquille O'Neal and the Orlando Magic in a first-round sweep to earn their first NBA playoff series win, and pulled off an upset by defeating the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the Conference semifinals.
With the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals tied going into Game 5 in New York, and the Pacers trailing the Knicks by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, Reggie Miller scored 25 points in that quarter, including five 3-point field goals. Miller also flashed the choke sign to the Knicks' number one fan, Spike Lee, while leading the Pacers to the come from behind victory. The Knicks ultimately came back to win the next two games and the series. Miller was a tri-captain and leading scorer of the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championship.
Mark Jackson joined the team in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, giving the team a steady hand at the point guard position that had been lacking in recent years. The Pacers enjoyed a 52–30 campaign in 1994–95, giving them their first Central Division title and first 50+ win season since the ABA days. The team swept the Hawks in the first round, before another meeting with the rival Knicks in the Conference semifinals. Again, it was up to Miller to provide some fireworks. This time, with the Pacers down six points with 16.4 seconds remaining in Game 1, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to help secure a two point victory. The Pacers beat the Knicks in seven games. They pushed the Magic to seven games before falling in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the 1997–98 NBA season Larry Bird coached the team, under whom they posted a new franchise record, finishing 58–24, a 19-game improvement from the previous season. Chris Mullin joined the team in the offseason and immediately became a valuable part of the Pacers lineup—and starting small forward. Assistant coaches Rick Carlisle, in charge of the offense, and Dick Harter, who coached the defense, were key in getting the most out of the Pacers' role players such as Dale Davis, Antonio Davis and Derrick McKey. Miller and Rik Smits both made the All-Star team that year, and in the playoffs, the Pacers breezed past the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks before falling to the Chicago Bulls in a seven-game Eastern Conference Final.
In the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Pacers won the Central Division with a 33–17 record and swept the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers before falling to the Knicks in a six-game Eastern Conference finals. The Pacers traded forward Antonio Davis to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for first-round draft choice Jonathan Bender, which remains to this day a subject of controversy among Pacers fans. But in the playoffs, after a 56–26 regular season, the Pacers survived the upset-minded Milwaukee Bucks in round one, handled the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round and finally broke through to the NBA Finals by virtue of a six-game East Finals victory over the New York Knicks.
Their first NBA Finals appearance was against the Los Angeles Lakers, who ended Indiana's championship hopes in six games. However, the Pacers dealt Los Angeles their worst playoff defeat up to that time by a margin of 33 points in game five.
In the midseason of 2001–02, the Pacers made a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bulls that sent Jalen Rose and Travis Best to Chicago in exchange for Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Kevin Ollie and Ron Mercer. Miller and Artest would, in the next few years, go on to be All-Stars for the Pacers. The trade bolstered a team that had been floundering, and the Pacers managed to return to the playoffs, where they pushed the top-seeded New Jersey Nets to five games before losing Game 5 in double overtime. Jermaine O'Neal made his first of what would be several All-Star appearances that year.
Toward the end of a Pacers victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills on November 19, 2004, the Pacers' Ron Artest committed a hard foul against Ben Wallace. Wallace retaliated with a hard push, and the situation escalated to a full-scale brawl, with fans and several Pacers taking part. While Artest defiantly laid atop the scorer's table, Piston fan John Green threw a cup of beer at Artest, causing him to charge into the stands. Stephen Jackson followed him into the stands while Jermaine O'Neal struck a fan who came onto the court. The game was called off with 46 seconds left on the clock and the Pacers left the floor amid a shower of beer and other beverages that rained down from the stands.
Several of the involved players were suspended by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Artest was suspended for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, a total of 73 games—the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history. Other suspensions included Jackson (suspended for 30 games), O'Neal (25 games), Wallace (6 games) and the Pacers' Anthony Johnson (5 games) (O'Neal's suspension was later reduced to 15 games by arbitrator Roger Kaplan, a decision that was upheld by U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels). O'Neal was charged with two counts of assault and battery, while Artest, Jackson, Johnson and David Harrison were charged with one count each.
After the brawl and suspensions that followed, the Pacers fell downward into the Central Division. They went from a legitimate title contender to a team that hovered around .500 in winning percentage. The Pistons eventually became the Central Division champions. Despite the difficulties with the suspensions and injuries, the Pacers earned a sixth seed in the playoffs with a record of 44–38. An important reason for their strong finish was the re-acquisition of Dale Davis, who had been released by the New Orleans Hornets after being traded there by the Golden State Warriors. He played the final 25 games of the regular season and every playoff game, contributing a strong presence at center. And Davis' signing coincided with an injury to Jermaine O'Neal that would knock him out for virtually the remainder of the regular season—indeed, O'Neal's first missed game due to his injury was Davis' first game back with the Pacers.
Despite the adversity they had gone through, the Pacers made the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years. In the first round, Indiana defeated the Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics in seven games, winning Game 7 in Boston by the decisive margin of 97–70, just the third time the Celtics had dropped a Game 7 at home. The Pacers then advanced to the second-round against the Detroit Pistons, in a rematch of the previous year's Eastern Conference Finals. The series featured games back at The Palace of Auburn Hills, the scene of the brawl that many assumed at the time had effectively ended the Pacers' season. After losing Game 1, the Pacers won the next two games to take a 2–1 lead. However, the Pacers could not repeat their victories against the Pistons and lost the next 3 games, losing the series 4–2. The final game (Game 6) was on May 19, 2005; Reggie Miller, in his final NBA game, scored 27 points and received a huge standing ovation from the crowd. Despite Miller's effort, the Pacers lost, sending Miller into retirement without an NBA Championship in his 18-year career, all with the Pacers. Miller had his No. 31 jersey retired by the Pacers on March 30, 2006 when the Pacers played the Phoenix Suns.
2005–2012: The Danny Granger era
Despite the loss of Miller, the Artest saga, and many key injuries the Pacers made the playoffs in 2006 for the 14th time in 15 years. They also were the only road team to win Game 1 of a first-round playoff series. However New Jersey won game 2 to tie the series at 1–1 heading back to Indiana. In game 3 Jermaine O'Neal scored 37 points as the Pacers regained a 2–1 series lead. The Nets, however, won games four and five to take a 3–2 series lead. In Game 6 Anthony Johnson scored 40 points but the Pacers' season came to an end as the Nets won 96–90.
The Pacers finished the 2006–07 season as one of the worst seasons in team history. For the Pacers, who finished with a 35–47 record, nearly everything that could have gone wrong did. The turning point of the season would be an 11-game losing streak that started around the all-star break. Injuries to Jermaine O'Neal and Marquis Daniels, a lack of a solid back up point guard, the blockbuster trade midway through the season that interrupted the team chemistry, poor defensive efforts, and being the NBA's worst offensive team were the main reasons leading to the team's struggles. The April 15 loss to New Jersey Nets knocked the Pacers out of the playoffs for the first time since the 1996–1997 season.
On April 10, 2007, the Pacers announced the firing of coach Rick Carlisle, with the Pacers' first losing record in ten seasons being the main reason for the coach's dismissal. Pacers President Larry Bird noted that Carlisle had the opportunity to return to the Pacers franchise in another role. Later, Carlisle opted to leave and took a broadcasting job with ESPN before returning to coach the Dallas Mavericks in 2008. On May 31, 2007, Jim O'Brien was named Carlisle's successor. O'Brien made it clear that he intended to take the Pacers back to the playoffs in the 2007–08 season, but he didn't, and didn't in his tenure. He also made it known that he favored a more up-tempo, fast-paced style as opposed to Carlisle's slower, more meticulous style of coaching. Many people have taken note that this style, while exciting at times, failed to produce a winning record and O'Brien's inability to change his style to better suit his talent available has hurt the team.
Despite missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the '80s, the 2007–08 season displayed many signs of growth in the team, especially towards the end of the season. Off-court legal distraction from Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels, and Shawne Williams in the middle of the season did not help the Pacers struggles, and injuries to Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal damaged the Pacers' already weak defense and left almost all point guard duties to recently acquired Travis Diener, who saw minimal minutes on his previous NBA teams. Despite this, and a 36–46 record, the Pacers had a very strong finish to the season, which included a desperate attempt to steal the 8th seed from the Atlanta Hawks, and dramatic improvement in forwards Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy. Both Granger and Dunleavy were involved in the voting for Most Improved Player, with Dunleavy finishing in the top 10. The two were also the first Pacer pair to score 1500 points each in a single season since Reggie Miller and Detlef Schrempf did it in the early 90s.
In April of the 2007–08 Season, Donnie Walsh, Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO & President, left the Indiana Pacers to join the New York Knicks. All of Walsh's basketball-related duties were given to Pacers' President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. Walsh's business-related roles were given to co-owner Herb Simon and Jim Morris, who was promoted to President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
During the 2009–2010 season, Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough (drafted in 2009) suffered a season-ending ear injury and without center Jeff Foster, the Pacers again fell into another season under .500 and missed the playoffs for 4 years in a row. Despite another disappointing season, the Pacers managed to sweep the waning Detroit Pistons for the first time in 5 years, and the abysmal New Jersey Nets for the first time in 20. The team showed signs of life near the end of the season, winning nearly all of their last 14 games.
In May 2010, after completing his rookie season, guard A. J. Price suffered a knee injury during a charity pick-up game that would require surgery. His expected rehabilitation was to last between 4–6 months, to be back just in time for training camp.
In the 2010 NBA Draft, the Pacers selected forward/guard Paul George with the 10th overall pick. In the second round, they drafted guard Lance Stephenson, as well as forward Ryan Reid. The draft rights to Reid were traded on draft night to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange to the rights to forward/center Magnum Rolle. The Pacers signed George to his rookie contract on July 1, 2010. Stephenson signed a multi-year contract with the team on July 22. Just before training camp, Rolle was signed, along with big man Lance Allred. Both were cut before the regular season began.
On August 11, 2010, the Pacers acquired guard Darren Collison and swingman James Posey from the New Orleans Hornets in a four-team, five-player deal. Troy Murphy was dealt to the New Jersey Nets in that trade.
In the 2010–2011 season, the team went 2–3 in the first five games. On November 9 in a home game against Denver, the team scored 54 points in the 3rd quarter alone, shooting 20–21 in the process, on the way to a 144–113 rout of the Nuggets. Led by Mike Dunleavy's 24 points in the period, the team set a franchise record for most points in a quarter and was only four points short of the all-time NBA record for points in a quarter (58) set in the 1970s.
On January 30, 2011, the Pacers relieved Jim O'Brien of his coaching duties and named assistant coach Frank Vogel interim head coach.
On the NBA's trade deadline on February 24, 2011, numerous sports news outlets, including ESPN, reported that the Pacers had agreed to a three-team trade that would have sent Josh McRoberts to the Memphis Grizzlies and Brandon Rush to the New Orleans Hornets, while the Pacers would have received O.J. Mayo from the Grizzlies in return, and the Hornets would have sent an unidentified player to the Grizzlies. However, the trading period expired at 3:00 pm EST, and the trade paperwork did not reach the NBA's main offices for approval until 3:02 pm. Thus, the trade was canceled and all aforementioned players remained with their original teams.
With a victory over the Washington Wizards on April 6, 2011, the Pacers clinched their first playoff berth since 2006. In the first round, they were defeated by the No. 1 seed Chicago Bulls in five games. Despite a lopsided comparison in terms of the two teams' win-loss records, three of the four Pacers losses were close, losing games 1–3 by an average of five points.
The Pacers named Vogel their permanent head coach on July 7, 2011. They acquired George Hill from the San Antonio Spurs on draft night. After the lockout, the Pacers signed former two-time All-Star power forward David West to a two-year deal. These new players contributed to the Pacers' record of 21-12 at the All Star break. The Pacers acquired another key piece in Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline, mid-season. At the end of the 2011-12 season, the team, led in scoring by Danny Granger, clinched the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They finished with a 42-24 record, their best record since their 2003-04 season. On May 8, 2012, the Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic 105-87 to win their first playoff series since 2005 and would go on to play the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. On May 15, 2012 they defeated Miami to tie the second round series at 1-1. On May 17, they again beat Miami 94-75 to take the series lead 2-1. However, despite a hard fought series between the two, the Heat won Game 6 to close the series at 4-2.
The following season Granger was sidelined by a knee injury and managed to only play 5 games. Granger made his return during the 2013-2014 season, however failed to regain his form of the previous seasons, Granger was then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for G Evan Turner and F Lavoy Allen in a swap that took place approximately 30 minutes before the trade deadline.
2012–present: Return to Contention
On June 26, 2012, general manager, David Morway officially resigned. The following day, president of basketball operations, Larry Bird stepped down. Bird and Morway were officially replaced by Donnie Walsh and Kevin Pritchard, respectively. Walsh returned to the organization after spending the previous three seasons in the Knicks' front office. Pritchard was promoted by the Pacers after serving as the team's director of player personnel. In the 2012 NBA Draft, the Pacers selected Miles Plumlee with the 26th pick and acquired Orlando Johnson, the 36th pick from the Sacramento Kings.
On April 7, 2013, the Pacers clinched their first Central Division championship since the 2003-04 season. They finished the 2012-13 season with a 49-32 record, the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers then beat the New York Knicks in six games to advance to Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004 to face the defending champs, the Miami Heat. The Pacers lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 22, 2013 in overtime 103-102. On May 24, 2013 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers were victorious by a score of 97-93. The game was clinched for Indiana, after David West was able to deflect a pass from LeBron James. The team headed home to Indianapolis where they had been a perfect 6-0 in the playoffs. The Heat won Game 3 in Indianapolis on May 26, 2013, with contributions from role players Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen, convincingly 114-96. The Pacers bounced back in Game 4 - with a strong contribution from Lance Stephenson - and were victorious 99-92. The Pacers lost Game 5 in Miami on May 30, but won Game 6 at home on June 1, extending the series to Game 7. The Pacers were defeated by Miami in a 23-point rout, 99-76.
One year after stepping down, Larry Bird returned as president of basketball operations. Donnie Walsh, who was brought back to hold the position for Bird, was named a consultant for the Pacers. In the 2013 NBA Draft, the Pacers selected Solomon Hill with the 23rd overall pick. During the 2013 offseason, the Pacers made strengthening their bench a priority, resulting in the acquisitions of point guard C. J. Watson, small forward Chris Copeland, and power forward Luis Scola.
On April 6, 2014, with 23 points, the Pacers established a franchise-record scoring low for a first half. The old mark was 27, set against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 10, 2004. The Pacers ended the regular season with 56 wins, earning them the 1 seed for the first time since 2004. They will play the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. In Game 1, the Pacers suffered a devastating loss at home to the Hawks, 101-93. Atlanta, led by Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, helped contribute to the late season swoon that continues to plague the Pacers.
- Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum (1967–1974)
- Market Square Arena (1974–1999)
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse (1999–present) (Previously known as Conseco Fieldhouse)
The Indiana Pacers play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which opened in 1999. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is located in downtown Indianapolis. It is owned and operated by the Capital Improvement Board, City of Indianapolis, Indiana and its groundbreaking was on July 22, 1997 by Ellerbe Becket Architects & Engineers. Formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse, the arena officially opened on November 6, 1999 and adopted its current name on December 22, 2011. It seats 18,165 for basketball games. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is also the home of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, who are also owned by Herb Simon. Additionally, it hosts the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament and hosted the 2011 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four. It hosts concerts and other events as well. The Fieldhouse is considered one of the best arenas in the NBA, being rated the No. 1 venue in the NBA according to the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily Reader Survey. Before moving into Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers played their games at Market Square Arena from 1974–1999 and at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum from 1967–1974.
The Indiana Pacers colors are navy blue, gold, silver, and white. The Pacers wear the usual white home uniform with navy blue and gold trim. Their road uniform is navy blue with gold trim. They also have a third uniform which is gold with navy blue trim. During the 1983 season, they wore the gold home uniform with blue and white trim. From 1997-2005 the Pacers sported pinstripe uniforms. One of their most iconic uniforms, worn from 1990–97, and the uniform that launched Reggie Miller into superstardom, was designed by American track and field athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner, and featured a modern typeset that resembled Helvetica. The jerseys were often referred to as the "Flo-Jos" by Pacers fans.
The Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers rivalry in the National Basketball Association (NBA) begins with the two playing in the Central Division. This rivalry is best known from the match-ups in the 1990s in which Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller would go head-to-head. The rivalry was renewed when the two teams faced each other in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The Pacers and Pistons met for the first time in the 1990 Playoffs, the Pistons swept the Pacers in three straight games on their way to their second straight NBA championship. But the rivalry truly began in the 2003-04 season. The Pacers finished with a league best 61 wins and were led by Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest, and Reggie Miller, and coached by Rick Carlisle. Carlisle had been fired by Detroit at the end of the previous season. Detroit was led by Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Richard Hamilton, and coached by Larry Brown. Indiana won the first 3 matchups in the regular season, before being defeated by the Pistons in the final regular-season meeting at the Palace. That was also the first time the two met after Rasheed Wallace was traded to Detroit.
They met in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. Indiana narrowly won Game 1, thanks to some late heroics from Miller. Rasheed, unimpressed, stated "They Will Not Win Game 2" during an interview before the second game (locally known as the "Guaran-Sheed" victory). Late in Game 2, Detroit held a two-point lead, Billups turned over the ball, and Miller appeared to have an uncontested lay-up that would have tied the game. However, before Miller could score, he was chased down by Prince, who leapt from behind and blocked the shot. Near the end of Game 6, when Detroit held a slight lead, Artest committed a flagrant foul on Hamilton, which nearly caused tempers to boil over. Detroit won the series 4-2, and went on to win the NBA title.
On November 19, 2004, at The Palace of Auburn Hills, what has become known as the Pacers–Pistons brawl took place. All involved were suspended for varying lengths. Artest, who started it, carried the longest penalty: the entire season.
That year teams split the four regular season meetings. They met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and split the first two games. The Pacers, blew an 18-point lead, but still won Game 3 in Indianapolis. However, just as he did a year earlier, Rasheed promised a win in Game 4 saying, "When we return, we will be tied at 2." The Pistons won Games 4 and 5. The Pacers, knew a loss would lead to Miller's retirement, fought hard, but fell to the Pistons 88–79.
New York Knicks
During the 1990s, the Knicks and Pacers were perennial playoff teams. They met in the playoffs 6 times from 1993–2000, fueling a rivalry epitomized by the enmity between Miller and prominent Knick fan Spike Lee. The rivalry was likened by Miller to the Hatfield–McCoy feud, and described by The New York Times, in 1998 as being "as combustible as any in the league".
A recent rivalry with the Miami Heat was triggered with the team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Although the two previously met in the 2004 NBA Playoffs (when Indiana won 4–2), As of 2014[update], the only two players still left from either team are Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem of the Heat. Both head coaches were fined for statements made relating to the officiating: Frank Vogel accused the Heat of flopping before the series started, while Erik Spoelstra took offense to what he perceived to be deliberate head-hunting of his players on the part of the Pacers. Indiana took a 2–1 lead after Miami's Chris Bosh was sidelined with an abdominal strain. Powered by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Miami won three straight games to take the series, 4–2. The series was marked by several suspensions, flagrant fouls, and confrontations between the players: Tyler Hansbrough's flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade (which drew blood), Udonis Haslem's retaliatory flagrant foul on Hansborough (which led to Haslem's Game 6 suspension), Wade colliding with Darren Collison in transition, Juwan Howard confronting Lance Stephenson over the latter's flashing of the choke sign to James, and Dexter Pittman elbowing Stephenson in the neck (which led to his own three-game suspension). Indiana's Danny Granger received technical fouls in three consecutive games for his confrontations with Heat players; he stripped James of his headband in Game 2 while attempting to block a shot, pulled the back of James' jersey in Game 3 while trying to stop a fast-break, and chest-bumped Wade in Game 4 after the latter was fouled by Roy Hibbert.
The following season saw improvements for both teams, from Miami's acquisition of Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, to the emergence of Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Notably, it was after the Heat lost to the Pacers that they compiled a 27-game winning streak; the last time the Heat lost two in a row in the year were the games against Indiana and Portland. During the waning minutes of Game 6 in the Semifinals between the Pacers and the New York Knicks, the Pacers' fans were chanting "Beat The Heat" as their team beat their old New York rivals. True to form, the Heat and the Pacers met in the Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2013. Several instances of physicality became prominent in the series: Shane Battier received an offensive foul for throwing his knee at Hibbert's midsection; Hibbert claimed that it was intentional dirty play on the part of Battier. Andersen suffered a bloodied nose after colliding with David West. Ian Mahinmi received a retroactive flagrant foul for a grab of James' arm. Norris Cole latched a hand on West's groin area as he tried to slip through West. Wade received a retroactive flagrant foul for hitting Stephenson in the head, another incident that the Pacers, notably Paul George, felt was a dirty play. The Heat survived Game 1 on a James game-winning layup, while the Pacers came back to tie the series at 1–1 after forcing James into two late fourth-quarter turnovers for Game 2. In Game 3, the Heat set a team record for points in a postseason half with 70. It was the first time the Pacers had given up 70 points since 1992. Allen's single turnover was the least ever suffered by the Heat in a first half. Their five total turnovers is tied for the fewest in franchise history. The Game 3 victory marked the first time that an NBA team had won five straight road games by double digits. The Heat won the series 4–3, with a 99–76 win in game 7.
Indiana Pacers roster
Retained draft rights
The Pacers hold the draft rights to the following unsigned draft picks who have been playing outside the NBA. A drafted player, either an international draftee or a college draftee who isn't signed by the team that drafted him, is allowed to sign with any non-NBA teams. In this case, the team retains the player's draft rights in the NBA until one year after the player's contract with the non-NBA team ends. This list includes draft rights that were acquired from trades with other teams.
|2007||2||39||Barać, StankoStanko Barać||C||Croatia||Anadolu Efes (Turkey)||Acquired from the Miami Heat|||
|Indiana Pacers retired numbers|
|30||George McGinnis||F||1971–75, 1980–82|
|35||Roger Brown||F||1967–74, 1975|
|529||Bobby Leonard 1||—||1968–80|
1 As head coach; the number represents his 529 victories coaching the Pacers.
Hall of Famers
Except as noted, all players and coaches listed here were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the same role in which they are listed..
|Indiana Pacers Basketball Hall of Famers|
|35||Roger Brown||F/G||1967/68–1973/74, 1974/75||2013|
|-||Larry Bird||Coach||1997–2000||1998[a 1]|
|-||Isiah Thomas||Coach||2000–2003||2000[a 1]|
- Bird and Thomas were inducted as players, not coaches.
There have been 13 head coaches for the Pacers franchise. Larry Staverman was the first coach of the team in 1967, when the team was in the ABA. Coach Bobby Leonard has the most wins in franchise history, with 529 in his 12 seasons with the team. Dick Versace led the Pacers through the subpar years and Bob Hill got the Pacers back to the playoffs and into contention. Then Larry Brown joined the Pacers franchise and led the team to many playoff appearances after the acquisition of star Reggie Miller. Larry Bird took over the team in 1997 and coached until 2000. Bird took the Pacers to their only NBA Finals appearance in the 1999–2000 season. The current head coach of the Pacers is Frank Vogel.
- Games: Reggie Miller (1,389)
- Minutes Played: Miller (47,621)
- Field Goals Made: Miller (8,241)
- Field Goal Attempts: Miller (17,699)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made: Miller (2,560)
- 3-Point Field Goal Attempts: Miller (6,486)
- Free Throws Made: Miller (6,237)
- Free Throw Attempts: Miller (7,026)
- Offensive Rebounds: Dale Davis (2,276)
- Defensive Rebounds: Mel Daniels (5,461)
- Total Rebounds: Daniels (7,643)
- Assists: Miller (4,141)
- Steals: Miller (1,505)
- Blocked Shots: Jermaine O'Neal (1,247)
- Turnovers: Miller (2,409)
- Personal Fouls: Rik Smits (3,011)
- Points: Miller (25,279)
- Minutes Played: Mel Daniels (37.07)
- Field Goals Made: Chuck Person
- Field Goal Attempts: Person (16.33)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made: Reggie Miller (1.84)
- 3-Point Field Goal Attempts: Stephen Jackson (4.73)
- Free Throws Made: Detlef Schrempf (5.31)
- Free Throw Attempts: George McGinnis (7.05)
- Offensive Rebounds: Daniels (4.56)
- Defensive Rebounds: Daniels (11.40)
- Total Rebounds: Daniels (15.96)
- Assists: Mark Jackson (8.13)
- Steals: Don Buse (2.55)
- Blocked Shots: Jermaine O'Neal (2.46)
- Turnovers: Ricky Sobers (4.10)
- Personal Fouls: James Edwards (4.04)
- Points: Danny Granger (25.8)
Per 48 minutes
- Field Goals Made: Billy Knight (11.41)
- Field Goal Attempts: George McGinnis (23.53)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made: Chris Mullin (2.74)
- 3-Point Field Goal Attempts: Reggie Miller (6.54)
- Free Throws Made: Detlef Schrempf (7.57)
- Free Throw Attempts: McGinnis (10.33)
- Offensive Rebounds: Mel Bennett (6.38)
- Defensive Rebounds: Mel Daniels (14.76)
- Total Rebounds: Daniels (20.66)
- Assists: Mark Jackson (13.09)
- Steals: Dudley Bradley (4.89)
- Blocked Shots: Granville Waiters (3.55)
- Turnovers: McGinnis (5.77)
- Personal Fouls: Greg Dreiling (10.57)
- Points: Knight (29.09)
- Ron Artest – 2004
- Chuck Person – 1987
- Detlef Schrempf – 1991, 1992
- Larry Bird – 2012
- Mel Daniels - 1971
- Billy Knight – 1977
- Don Buse – 1977
- Reggie Miller – 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000
- Detlef Schrempf – 1993
- Rik Smits – 1998
- Dale Davis – 2000
- Jermaine O'Neal – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
- Brad Miller - 2003
- Ron Artest – 2004
- Danny Granger – 2009
- Roy Hibbert – 2012, 2014
- Paul George – 2013, 2014
- Jermaine O'Neal – 2004
- Dudley Bradley – 1981
- Micheal Williams – 1992
- Derrick McKey – 1995, 1996
- Ron Artest – 2003
- Paul George – 2013
- Don Buse - 1975, 1976
- Fred Jones - 2004
- "Where Are They Now? Freddie Lewis".
- "Indiana Pacers Hall of Famers".
- "Remember the ABA: Indiana Pacers".
- "Remember the ABA: Indiana Pacers Ownership History".
- Star Files: Early years of the Indiana Pacers
- Helin, Kurt. "Fans wanted Steve Alford, but Pacers drafted Reggie Miller".
- Warner, Ralph. "Reggie Miller Chokes Life Out of MSG". Retrieved 28 Nov 2011.
- James, Zach. "This Series in Pacers History: 1994 Eastern Conference Finals". Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "A Look Back At The USA Men's 1994 World Championship Gold Medal". Retrieved 25 Feb 2010.
- Helin, Kurt. "Video: Breaking down Reggie Miller's 8 points, 9 seconds".
- "1995 NBA Eastern Conference Finals".
- "2000 NBA Finals Composite Box Score".
- "Pacers raise Reggie Miller's No. 31 to rafters". Retrieved 31 Mar 2006.
- Wells, Mike. "David Morway resigns as general manager of Pacers". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Larry Bird officially steps down". Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals".
- Pacers at Heat - May 22, 2013 - Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on NBA.com
- Heat at Pacers - May 26, 2013 - Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on NBA.com
- Agness, Scott. "Bird Back, Focused on Winning".
- Notebook: Hawks 107, Pacers 88
- Brown, Clifton (January 24, 1997). "Give Miller a Hand? Not in This Rivalry". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2008. "Reggie Miller compares the Knicks–Indiana Pacers rivalry to the Hatfields vs. the McCoys."
- Wise, Mike (May 5, 1998). "THE N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; For Combustibility, It's Knicks–Pacers". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2008. "From head-butts to hideous trash talk, from Miller versus John Starks, the Pacers–Knicks rivalry has been as combustible as any in the league."
- "Pacers at Heat - June 3, 2013 - Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on". Nba.com. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Coon, Larry. "NBA Salary Cap FAQ – 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement". Retrieved April 13, 2014. "If the player is already under contract to, or signs a contract with a non-NBA team, the team retains the player's draft rights for one year after the player's obligation to the non-NBA team ends. Essentially, the clock stops as long as the player plays pro ball outside the NBA."
- "Pacers Make Trade For 2nd-Round Pick Barac". NBA.com. June 28, 2007. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
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