|First meeting||October 23, 1976|
|Latest meeting||March 18, 2015
|Next meeting||November 16, 2015
|Meetings total||184 meetings|
|All-time series||99–85 (CHI)|
|Regular season series||91–81 (CHI)|
|Postseason results||8–4 (CHI)|
|Longest win streak|
|Current win streak||CHI W1|
The Bulls–Pacers rivalry is an NBA rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers. It began with the two clubs playing in the Central Division. The Bulls and the Pacers have met twice in the NBA playoffs, starting with their first playoff meeting in 1998. 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, which the Bulls won in 5 games.
As of 2014, the Bulls and Pacers have met 2 times in the NBA Playoffs with the Bulls having won both series.
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Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller
On February 12, 1993, a regular-seasoned game between the Bulls and Pacers became heated as a fight broke out between Bull's Michael Jordan and Pacer's Reggie Miller. The altercation began after a series of pushing and shoving escalated between Jordan and Miller. The fight started when Miller bumped into Jordan with his forearm after a made Indiana basket which caused Jordan to retaliate. Jordan chased down and confronted Miller. After the two were separated, Miller and Pacers head coach, Bob Hill, were ejected from the game. Controversy spurred as Jordan was neither ejected from the game or given a flagrant foul, which led Miller to believe a double-standard existed because of Jordan's popularity and NBA superstar status. The National Basketball Association conducted an investigation and Rod Thorn, NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, determined that Jordan's actions warranted punishment. He was deemed as the aggressor in the fight for throwing a punch at Miller. Jordan was suspended for one game and fined $10,000. Miller was not suspended but fined $6,000.
On January 21, 1994, Reggie Miller made a jump shot to put the Pacers up 95–93 with 8 tenths left in the game. Miller then sprinted to the half court line after Chicago called a timeout and bowed twice towards the fans in the Chicago Stadium. After the timeout, Toni Kukoč banked in a 3 at the buzzer to win the game 96–95. In their next meeting, the Bulls defeated the Pacers 90–81 at Market Square Arena, sweeping the Pacers in the regular season. At the end of the game, Scottie Pippen mimicked Miller by bowing towards the Pacer fans.
In October 2013, Derrick Rose expressed his thoughts on the state of the rivalry between the two franchises:
1998 NBA Eastern Conference Finals
This is the first meeting between the Bulls coached by Phil Jackson and the Pacers coached by Larry Bird in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The series began with the Bulls having home court advantage in the United Center on May 17, 1998. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 85-79 in Game 1 and 104-98 in Game 2. The series than shifted to Market Square with Reggie Miller leading Indiana in the final minutes to a 107-105 victory. In Game 4, Reggie Miller, who was guarded by Michael Jordan, shot the game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to avoid a 3-1 deficit. Miller's game winner evened the series to 2-2. After Chicago won Game 5 by 19 points, Indiana Pacers fought back to win Game 6, 92-89. As a result, the defending NBA champions were on the brink of elimination, which made the Pacers become one of only two teams to force a Game 7 in the Bulls' title years. Michael Jordan, determined to return to the NBA Finals, guaranteed to the press that the Bulls would win Game 7. Chicago triumphed in Game 7 with a final score of 88-83 and advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Utah Jazz coached by Jerry Sloan. Despite the Jazz having home court advantage, The Bulls went on to win the NBA Finals in a 4-2 series for their sixth NBA title. Michael Jordan was voted the Most Valuable Player making it his sixth NBA Finals MVP award. Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was Jordan's final NBA game with the Chicago Bulls.
2011 NBA Eastern Conference First Round
- Benson, Elizabeth (November 15, 2013). "The 5 Biggest Moments of the 1990s Chicago-Indiana Rivalry". dimemag.com. Dime Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Aschburner, Steve (March 6, 2012). "Chicago is out in front in budding Bulls-Pacers rivalry". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- Ford, Bob (February 13, 1993). "For Jordan, A One-game Suspension He Was Fined, Too, As Was His Adversary, Indiana's Reggie Miller". philly.com. Interstate General Media. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
- Brown, Clifton (February 13, 1993). "Late Call: Jordan Suspended and Fined". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "The Ten Greatest Bull Shots". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 13, 1993. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- Isaacson, Melissa (January 23, 1994). "Bulls Take Bow With A Sweep". chicagotribune.com. Tribune Publishing Company. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- "Derrick Rose: Pacers no longer a rival." ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-May-01.
- Merron, Jeff. "Greatest Conference Finals". espn.go.com. ESPN. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Smith, Stephen (May 30, 1998). "Still In The Hunt Pacers Hold Off Bulls To Force Game 7". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2014.