What's the Furthest the Indiana Pacers Have Ever Gone in the NBA Playoffs?

The Pacers have never won an NBA championship. How close have they come?
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Indiana Pacers upset the New York Knicks in seven games to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will face the heavily-favored Boston Celtics. A win in the series would earn Indiana a spot in the NBA Finals, a place the franchise has only been once before. What follows is an examination of the team's playoff history and a look at the furthest they've gone.

The Pacers' postseason run in 2024 has been exciting, after the team topped the Milwaukee Bucks in six games before coming back from down 3-2 to defeat the Knicks. Entering the postseason as the sixth-seed in the East, the team has a chance to do the improbable and knock off a conference's top three seeds en route to a spot in the finals. It would be a heck of a story and add a positive chapter to the club's decidedly mixed playoff history.

Have the Pacers Ever Won an NBA Championship?

The Pacers have never won an NBA title. But prior to joining the NBA in 1976, they won three ABA championships. After their founding in 1967, the franchise quickly rose to the top of the ABA, winning three titles in a four season span.

In 1970, the Pacers topped the Los Angeles Stars in the ABA Finals in six games. In 1972, they were back in the finals, topping the New York Nets in six games. They went back-to-back in 1973, beating the Kentucky Colonels in a back-and-forth seven-game series.

What Is the Furthest the Pacers Have Gone in the NBA Playoffs?

Indiana is making its eighth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers' last berth in this round came back in 2014, but the also made it in 2013, 2004, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995 and 1994. They have one Eastern Conference title and it came in 2000.

The Pacers reached the NBA Finals in 2000 and faced Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers. It didn't go well for Indiana, as the Shaq-Kobe Lakers were about to begin a run of three consecutive championships.

Reggie Miller and his teammates lost the first two games of the series, came back to win Game 3 at home, then dropped Game 4 before taking Game 5. The Lakers closed out the series at home, winning 116-111 behind 41 points and 12 rebounds from O'Neal. The loss to LA had to sting for Pacers head coach Larry Bird, a former Boston Celtics great.

Indiana has not reached the NBA Finals since.

Pacers Playoff History

Playoff Result

Times Occurred

Last Year Occurred

Missed Postseason

20

2022-23

Play-in Tournament

0

Never participated

Lost in first round

17

2019-2020

Lost in Eastern Conf. Semifinals

2

2011-12

Lost in Eastern Conf. Finals

7

2013-14

Finals Appearance

1

1999-2000

The Pacers have been in the NBA for 47 years, in that time they have missed the playoffs 20 times and been eliminated in the first round on 17 occasions. They have made seven appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals, but are 1-6 when they've been there. The lone Eastern Conference title game in 2000 when they beat the Knicks in six games.

Can the Pacers Win a Championship This Year?

While Indiana didn't enter the postseason as a championship favorite, the team has played like it belongs. While they Pacers aren't led by a litany of household names, they do have one of the NBA's emerging young stars, as point guard Tyrese Haliburton has reached that level.

This season, Haliburton averaged 20.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists in 32.2 minutes over the course of 69 games. This is his first time in the postseason and he has been up to the task, posting a line of 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game.

Haliburton is helped by former NBA champion Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner. Given his ability and the talent around him, Indiana can certainly win a title this year.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.