|Founded||1967 (Joined NBA in 1976)|
|History|| Indiana Pacers |
|Team Colors||Blue, Gold, & Gray|
|Head Coach||Rick Carlisle|
|Owner||Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Melvin and Herb Simon|
|Championships|| ABA: 3 (1970, 1972, 1973) |
|Conference Titles|| ABA: 5 (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975) |
NBA: 1 (2000)
|Division Titles|| ABA: 3 (1969, 1970, 1971) |
NBA: 4 (1995, 1999, 2000, 2004)
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team that plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They have the state's name rather than their city's because the team is based in the state's largest city, Indianapolis, Indiana which is also the capital and is located in the center of the state.
Franchise history 編輯
The ABA Years: Dynasty編輯The Pacers began play in the inaugural 1967-68 season of the American Basketball Association, which was set up as an alternative league to the National Basketball Association. They played in the Coliseum, which stands on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It is now called the Pepsi Coliseum.
The Pacers' ABA teams were coached by Bobby "Slick" Leonard, and buoyed by the great play of players such as Mel Daniels, George McGinnis and Roger Brown. The Pacers were the most successful team in the ABA's history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league's eight-year history.
Struggling Through the Early NBA Years編輯
The ABA folded in 1976, and the Pacers were one of four ABA teams invited to join the NBA beginning in the 1976-1977 season (the other three were the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs). Unfortunately for the Pacers, they were in decline after their years of ABA glory. They finished their inaugural NBA season with a record of 36-46, but Billy Knight and Don Buse were nonetheless invited to represent Indiana in the NBA All-Star Game.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, a lack of year-to-year continuity became the norm, as they traded away Knight and Buse before the 1977-1978 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 Pacers made their first appearance in the NBA Playoffs in 1981, falling in the opening round to the Philadelphia 76ers in two straight games. They failed to reach the postseason in 1981-1982, and in 1982-1983 they finished with their all-time worst record of 20-62.
Clark Kellogg was drafted by the Pacers in 1983 and showed tremendous promise, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but the Pacers won only 26 games that season. After winning 22 games in 1984-85 and 26 games in 1985-86, Jack Ramsay replaced George Irvin as coach and led the Pacers to a 41-41 record in 1986-87, marking their return to the NBA Playoffs after a six-year absence. Chuck Person, nicknamed "The Rifleman" for his renowned long-range shooting, led the team in scoring as a rookie. 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 unfortunately for the Pacers, it was their only victory in that series, as the Hawks defeated them in four games.
Reggie Miller was drafted by the Pacers in 1987, beginning his career as a backup to John Long. 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 and eventually was replaced by Dick Versace on the way to a 28-54 finish. But the team did manage to make a trade that would eventually pay off, as they traded Herb Williams to the Dallas Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf.
But in 1989-90 the Pacers parlayed a fast start into the team's third NBA Playoffs appearance, and Reggie Miller was voted to the All-Star team on the strength of his 24.6 points-per-game average. But the Pacers lost all three games in their 1990 NBA Playoffs experience, falling to the Detroit Pistons, who would go on to win their second consecutive NBA Championship.
In 1990-91, the Pacers returned to the playoffs with a 41-41 record, and Schrempf was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. The Pacers had a memorable series against the highly favored Boston Celtics that they managed to extend to five games before losing Game 5, 124-121. The Pacers returned to the playoffs in 1991-92 and met the Celtics again, but this time the Celtics left no doubt who was better as they swept the Pacers in three straight.
Chuck Person and point guard Micheal Williams were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason, and the Pacers got Pooh Richardson and Sam Mitchell in return. For the 1992-93 season, Detlef Schrempf moved from sixth man to the starter at small forward and was elected to his first All-Star game. Miller, meanwhile, became the Pacers' all-time leading scorer during this season. The Pacers returned to the playoffs with a 41-41 record, but lost to the New York Knicks in the first round, three games to one.
Larry Brown was brought on as Pacers' coach for the 1993-94 season, and Pacers' general manager Donnie Walsh completed a highly-criticized (at the time) trade as he sent Schrempf to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Derrick McKey. But the Pacers, who began the season in typically average fashion, kicked it up a notch in April, winning their last eight games of the season to finish with a 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 a tremendous upset by defeating the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinal.
It was during the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals that the Pacers - particularly Reggie Miller - finally became a household name, as Miller's clutch performances helped the Pacers push the Knicks to the brink of elimination before the Knicks won the next two games and the series. Reggie became an NBA superstar overnight, and was even named as a tri-captain of the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1994 World Championship of Basketball.
Mark Jackson joined the team in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, giving the team the 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. The team swept the Hawks in the first round, finally dispatched the hated Knicks in the semifinals, and pushed the Magic to seven games before falling in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Pacers duplicated their 52-30 record in 1995-96, but were hurt severely by an injury to Reggie Miller's eye socket in April, from which he wasn't able to return until Game 5 of their first-round series against the Hawks. Reggie scored 29 points in that game, but the Hawks came away with a two-point victory to put an early end to Indiana's season. This 1995-96 team did manage to go down in history as the only team to defeat the Chicago Bulls twice that year, a Bulls team which made history with an all-time best 72-10 record.
The Pacers couldn't withstand several key injuries in 1996-97, nor could they handle the absence of Mark Jackson, who had been traded to the Denver Nuggets before the season (though they did re-acquire Jackson at the trading deadline). The Pacers finished 39-43 and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years, after which coach Larry Brown stepped down.
The Return to Glory編輯
The Pacers selected Larry Bird to coach the team in 1997-98 and they posted a new franchise record, finishing 58-24. Chris Mullin joined the team in the offseason and immediately became a valuable part of the Pacers lineup-- and their 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. Reggie 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 an epic seven-game Eastern Conference Final.
In the lockout-shortened 1999 season, the Pacers won the Central Division with a 33-17 record and swept the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers before falling to the New York Knicks in a six-game Eastern Conference Finals series. The Pacers traded popular 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 1999-2000, after a 56-26 regular season, the Pacers survived the upset-minded Bucks in round one, handled the 76ers in the second round and finally broke through to the NBA Finals by virtue of a six-game East Finals victory over (who else, but) the New York Knicks.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, their first NBA Finals appearance was against the dominating Los Angeles Lakers, who proved too much for them to handle as they 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.
The offseason brought sweeping changes to the Pacers' lineup, as Rik Smits and coach Larry Bird retired, Chris Mullin returned to his old Golden State Warriors team, Mark Jackson signed a long-term contract with Toronto, and Dale Davis was traded to Portland for Jermaine O'Neal, who went on to average 12.9 points per game in his first year as a starter. It was a rebuilding year for the Pacers under new head coach Isiah Thomas, but the team still managed to return to the playoffs, where they lost to the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in four games.
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. Brad Miller and Ron 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 this year, erasing any doubt that trading the veteran workhorse, Dale Davis, to Portland for him was a good idea.
The Pacers got off to a 13-2 start in 2002-03, but hit the wall after the All-Star break thanks in no small part to Ron Artest's multiple suspensions and family tragedies befalling Jermaine O'Neal, Jamaal Tinsley and Austin Croshere. O'Neal and Brad Miller both made the All-Star team and the Pacers made a substantial improvement as they finished 48-34, but they suffered a loss to the underdog Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
The Pacers' New Era編輯
In the 2003 offseason, the Pacers managed to re-sign O'Neal for the NBA maximum and inked Reggie Miller to a modest two-year deal, but they couldn't afford to keep their talented center, Brad Miller. He was dealt to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Scot Pollard, who spent much of the following year watching from the bench and backing up Jeff Foster. But the Pacers signed Larry Bird as team president, and Bird wasted little time in dismissing coach Isiah Thomas and replacing him with Rick Carlisle.
The Pacers responded to Carlisle extremely well, and had a breakthrough 2003-04 season in which they finished 61-21, earning the best record in the NBA. O'Neal and Artest made the All-Star team, and Artest was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.
The Pacers swept the Boston Celtics easily in the first round, and squeezed by a scrappy Miami Heat team in the conference semifinals. But the Detroit Pistons proved an impediment to Indiana's championship aspirations, as they defeated the Pacers in six games on their way to the NBA Championship.
Al Harrington, a small forward who'd established himself as one of the best sixth-men in the NBA, was dealt in the offseason to the Atlanta Hawks in return for Stephen Jackson after Harrington allegedly demanded that the Pacers start him or trade him. Nevertheless, the Pacers started off the 2004-05 season in extremely strong fashion–until the infamous events of November 19, 2004.
Towards the end of a Pacers victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Ron Artest committed a hard foul against the Pistons' Ben Wallace, which Wallace took exception to. It escalated to a full-scale brawl, with fans and several Pacers taking part. Pistons fan John Green threw a cup of beer at Artest, causing him to charge into the stands. Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal both got into fights with fans before the Pacers left the floor, and the game was called with 46 seconds left on the clock . Artest was suspended for the rest of the season without pay for his role in the 'basketbrawl.'
Several of the involved players were suspended by NBA Commissioner David Stern, but the hardest hit were Artest (suspended for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs), 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 riot that followed, the Pacers fell downward into the Central Division. They went from a legitimate title contender to a team that hovered around .500. Ironically, the Pistons eventually became the Central Division champions. Despite the difficulties with the suspensions and injuries, the Pacers earned a sixth seed in a playoffs with a record of 44-38. An important reason for their strong finish was the re-acquisition of Dale Davis, who'd been released by New Orleans after being traded there by Golden State. 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.
So despite the adversity they'd 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.
The Pacers then advanced to the second-round against the Detroit Pistons, in a rematch of last 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 any NBA Championships in his 18-year career, all with the Pacers. Miller, a future Hall Of Famer, had his #31 jersey retired by the Pacers on March 30, 2006.
In 2005, the Pacers got off to an average start. On December 10, 2005, Ron Artest told a reporter for the Indianapolis Star that he wants to be traded, saying "the team would be better off without me". Various Pacers, including Jermaine O'Neal, soon denounced him,as O'Neal wouldn't want to talk about it. On December 12th, the Pacers placed Artest on their inactive list and began seeking a trade for the troubled star. On December 16th, the NBA fined Ron Artest $10,000 for publicly demanding a trade, which is similar to "degrading the league".
After that, the team had gone on a 9-12 tailspin and was 22-22, a far cry from the beginning where people mentioned that the Pacers would be one of the NBA's elite. On January 24th, 2006, it was said that Artest would be traded to the Sacramento Kings for Peja Stojakovic, when the trade was declined suddenly. The following day, however, the trade was accepted, and Indiana finally cut ties with the troubled All-Star. On February 1,2006, they managed to beat the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers, keeping the high-scorer below his average. Jermaine O'Neal was also sidelined with a torn left groin and missed two months. The Pacers finish the season 41-41
Despite the Artest Saga and many key injuries thr Pacers made the playoffs for the 14th time in 15 years. They also were the only team road team to win game 1. 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 Nets won 96-90.
Players of note 編輯
None elected through the 2005-06 season.
Not to be forgotten:編輯
- Ron Artest
- Antonio Davis
- Dale Davis
- Vern Fleming
- Mark Jackson
- Reggie Miller
- Chris Mullin
- Jalen Rose
- Detlef Schrempf
- Rik Smits
- Wayman Tisdale
- Herb Williams
- Haywoode Workman
- Pooh Richardson
- Derrick McKey
- LaSalle Thompson
- 30 George McGinnis, F, 1971-75 & 1980-82
- 31 Reggie Miller, G, 1987-2005
- 34 Mel Daniels, C, 1968-74
- 35 Roger Brown, F, 1967-74
- 529 Bobby "Slick" Leonard, Head Coach, 1968-80 (number of career wins)
Coaches and others 編輯
- Alex English
- Larry Bird (former coach and current President of Basketball Operations; enshrined as player with the Boston Celtics)
- Larry Brown
- Dr. Jack Ramsay
- Isiah Thomas (former coach; enshrined as player with the Detroit Pistons)
- Conseco Fieldhouse 1999-present
- Market Square Arena 1974-1999
- Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum 1967-1974
Previous Indianapolis NBA Teams 編輯
- Indiana Pacers official web site
- Official Indiana Pacers Summer Pro League web site
- Indiana Pacers News
- PacersDigest - A place for Pacers fans to gather and talk Pacers
- Indiana Pacers InsideHoops.com coverage
- Indiana Pacers News and Blog
- Sports E-Cyclopedia