Many may not realize this day as it comes and goes, but it is one of the most important days in franchise history. The year was 2000. The Pacers had been mostly a dominant force in the eastern conference for most of the decade behind the Chicago Bulls.
The Los Angeles Lakers were, at the time, the heir to the Chicago Bulls. They had a superstar in Kobe Bryant and a dominant force in Shaq. The two made a team that was nearly unstoppable, as the Pacers would soon learn.
The two would meet in the NBA finals, as the Pacers made their first trip in franchise history. The Pacers had been quite a good team for awhile but eastern conference foes of the Bulls and the Knicks had kept them from opening the door to a championship. And while they finally had made the big dance, things were only going to get harder.
The first two games were in LA, which the Lakers were able to take and maintain their home-court advantage heading to Indianapolis.
June 11, 2000 is the first time the NBA Finals made their way to Indianapolis as the Pacers took on the LA Lakers.
The Pacers were blown out in game one and made it close in game three. They could have just rolled over and let the clearly more talented team pull it off. But that doesn’t sound like Reggie Miller does it?
Reggie Miller led the Pacers to their first NBA finals win and was helped greatly by Jalen Rose. And while the Pacers were able to maintain home-court advantage through the third game, they ended up losing it in game four going down three to one. The Pacers were able to blow the Lakers out in game five, but ended up losing game six to end the series with a loss four to two.
Today was a good day for the Pacers organization. It’s a reminder that the Pacers have made the finals before and can make the finals again. It’s a call to hope that the current roster can continue to build and become a contender again.