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Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven

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It’s been 10 years since the last time the Indiana Pacers played in the Eastern Conference Finals, but now the team once again finds itself on the cusp of competing for an NBA title.

To say it’s been a tumultuous decade might be an understatement. Injuries, disgruntled stars, bad hires and more all played a role in the Pacers absence from the late rounds of the playoffs. At long last, however, they have finally made it back.

Take a listen to the best of the Tuesday edition of The Ride With JMV, where John previewed Pacers-Celtics Game 1 and more! Then, revisit the last decade of Pacers basketball, starting with the last time they were in the Eastern Conference Finals!

Finally, make sure to tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!

 

1. 2013-2014

Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers, 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Source:Getty

The last time the Pacers played in the Eastern Conference Finals, they lost to Lebron James and the eventual back-to-back champions Miami Heat for the 2nd straight year, 4-2. 

2. 2014-2015

NBA: NOV 05 Pacers at Wizards Source:Getty

The 2014-2015 season ended before it began, with Paul George suffering a serious leg injury during the offseason while playing for Team USA. The Pacers would finish 38-44 and miss the playoffs.  

3. 2015-2016

Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven Source:Getty

A healthy Paul George meant a return to form for Indiana, as they once again made the playoffs after finishing 45-37 and earning the 7th-seed. They would face off against the Toronto Raptors, who would take the series in seven games. This would be head coach Frank Vogel’s last season in Indiana.  

4. 2016-2017

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Three Source:Getty

The Pacers 50th season as a franchise, and first under coach Nate McMillan, would see them once again earn the 7th-seed and a playoff spot after finishing 42-40. However, a matchup with the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers would result in the Pacers getting swept out of the playoffs. Following the season, Paul George would be traded to Oklahoma City.  

5. 2017-2018

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven Source:Getty

The 2017 season would see Victor Oladipo emerge as a star in Indy. He would lead the Pacers to a 48-34 record and the 5th –seed in the Eastern Conference. They would once again face the Cavaliers in the first-round, losing in seven games.  

6. 2018-2019

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four Source:Getty

The Pacers 2018 season was dealt a major blow when Oladipo suffered a major knee injury against Toronto in January. Indiana would still finish with a 48-34 record, good for 5th in the Eastern Conference, but would get swept in the first round by the Celtics.  

7. 2019-2020

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Four Source:Getty

The 2019-2020 season would famously see play suspended, as the league and the world grappled with the COVID-19 Pandemic. When the league resumed play in NBA Bubble in July, the Pacers would earn a playoff spot with a 45-28 record and the 4th seed. However, they would be swept by Miami in the first round. The Pacers fired Nate McMillan following the season.  

8. 2020-2021

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat Source:Getty

The 2020-2021 season was a struggle for the Pacers, now led by Nate Bjorkgren. Indiana would trade away Oladipo, whose relationship with the city and franchise had soured, and would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2015 after finishing 34-38. This would Bjorkgren’s only season as the head coach of the Pacers.  

9. 2021-2022

New Orleans Pelicans v Indiana Pacers Source:Getty

Rick Carlisle’s first year back as the head man for Indiana was one that laid the groundwork for what was to come. The team acquired Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield during the trade deadline and brought in Jalen Smith. Still, the season would be slog, and Indiana would finish 25-57 and miss the playoffs for the 2nd season in a row.  

10. 2022-2023

Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics Source:Getty

2022 saw the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton as the Pacers star player of the future. The team also brought in Aaron Nesmith via trade and grabbed Bennedict Mathurin in the draft. The Pacers showed lots of improvement, winning 10 more games than the year before, but an injury to Haliburton in January undercut their momentum, and once again the Pacers would miss the playoffs.  

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