Taking a look at the Pacers' recent performances in Game 6s

With the Indiana Pacers playing an elimination Game 6 on Friday, now is a good time to look at their recent history in Game 6s.
May 2, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) holds the ball
May 2, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) holds the ball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have found themselves in an unfamiliar situation after their loss to New York in Game 5, a do-or-die elimination Game 6. This is perhaps the most important game in the last decade for the Pacers, as a win will keep their season alive for at least two more days while a loss sends them packing out of the playoffs. This is as high as the stakes get for this young Indiana team, they will either make or break their fortunes on Friday.

With a pivotal Game 6 coming up on Friday, now is a good time to check up on the history of Game Sixes that the Indiana Pacers have participated in, more specifically the 10 recent games, as they have all occurred in the last 12 years.

In total, Indiana has a record of 14-11 in Game 6s throughout their history, with the first game being a 97-79 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the 1994 Eastern Conference Semifinals to send the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Coincidentally, these Eastern Finals were against the New York Knicks, the same team Indiana finds themselves in a battle against in these very playoffs 30 years later. Unfortunately for the 1994 Pacers, they would lose this Game 6 and lose the series in seven games.

Jumping forward to more present times, the Pacers have played in 10 Game 6 since 2012, and host a promising 8-2 record in them. The first Game 6 of the modern franchise's history came in 2012, when they lost to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat 93-105 to get eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Pacers would follow this up with a five-game winning streak as they won every single Game 6 from the 2013 First Round against the Atlanta Hawks to the 2014 Conference Semifinals against the Washington Wizards. This included a win over the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals to win the series 4-2 and make the NBA Finals, a feat Indiana could have been looking to repeat had they won on Tuesday.

Following a 92-117 loss in Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals en route to a six-game elimination at the hands of the Miami Heat, Indiana responded by winning their next three Game 6s in a row, including one of the best performances in franchise history in the 2018 First Round against the Cleveland Cavaliers to extend the series to seven games.

This may be the most famous recent Game 6 in Pacers history, as then-star Victor Oladipo showed out with a 28-point triple-double as the Pacers trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 121-87 victory.

Of course, the most recent Game 6 was played only two weeks ago, as the Pacers blew out the Milwaukee Bucks 120-98 to win their first playoff series in a decade. Indiana will not yet be able to repeat that on Friday by winning another series, but they can still keep their season alive and retool for a win-or-go-home Game 7 at the Garden if they come away with a Game 6 win.

Indiana has a few factors going their way. For example, in the eight Game 6s they won in the last 12 years, five of them ended in series wins while only three ended in Game 7 defeats and series losses. Additionally, Indiana has an impressive 5-1 record at home in Game Sixes compared to a 3-1 record on the road.


Given these stats, history is certainly on Indiana's side come Friday's matchup with the New York Knicks. However, that will not do them much good if they come out with the same energy they had in Game 5 and let the Knicks steamroll them. Everyone on the Pacers must show up, especially Tyrese Haliburton if the Pacers want to keep their season alive for at least one more game.