The Indiana Pacers are an American professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The Pacers were first established in 1967 as a member of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and became one of four ABA teams to join the NBA in 1976 as part of the NBA merger. The Pacers have won three championships, all in the ABA. The Pacers were NBA Eastern Conference champions in 2000.
The team plays its home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The team is named after Indiana’s history with the Indianapolis 500’s pace cars and with the harness racing industry. The Pacers have appeared in the playoffs 28 times and won six Central Division titles and two Eastern Conference championships. The Pacers were created in 1967 as a member of the American Basketball Association. They were first based in Indianapolis.
The team took its name from Indiana’s rich auto racing history and association with the Indy 500’s pace cars. Dick Harter was hired as head coach. The Pacers’ first season was a struggle. They won only 41 games and lost 61, finishing last in the Eastern Division. ABA Commissioner George Mikan suggested that they should be moved to Kentucky because of the low attendance.
However, the team’s fortunes changed in the ABA’s second season. Mel Daniels and George McGinnis were signed and took the team to a 56-26 record, good enough for first place in the Eastern Division. In the playoffs, they defeated the New York Nets and then the Kentucky Colonels en route to the ABA Finals, where they faced the Los Angeles Stars. The Pacers won Game 7, 112-106, to win their first ABA Championship.
The Indiana Pacers rivalry with the Detroit Pistons is one of the most well-known in the NBA. The two teams have faced each other in the playoffs six times, most recently in 2016. They have also met twice in the Eastern Conference Finals, in 2004 and 2005. The rivalry is fueled by the fact that the two cities are only a few hours apart and are both considered to be Midwestern powerhouses.
The Pistons have had the upper hand in the rivalry, winning four of the six playoff series between the two teams. However, the Pacers did win the most recent meeting between the two, the first-round matchup in 2016. The Pistons and Pacers also share a rivalry with the Chicago Bulls. The three teams have been among the best in the NBA over the past 30 years, and have faced each other in the playoffs numerous times.
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