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While the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls are much improved heading into the 2013-14 season, it’s the Indiana Pacers who present the biggest obstacle to a fourth straight Eastern Conference crown for the Miami Heat. Pushing the 2-time defending champs to seven games in the Conference Finals last season, the Pacers proved they don’t fear anyone. Bolstering the line-up in the off-season, the Pacers enter 2013-14 with a championship-or-bust mentality. It’s going to get loud in Indianapolis this season. Get in on the action.
Founded in 1967, the Indiana Pacers were the most successful team in the ABA prior to the league merger in 1976. After joining the NBA, the Pacers struggled to match their early success and reached the playoffs just three times in their first thirteen seasons. Fortunes changed for the club in 1987 with the drafting of UCLA star Reggie Miller. Though a large and vocal group of fans were initially devastated that the Pacers had passed on the opportunity to select IU product Steve Alford, it was Miller who would become the face of the franchise.
In a Hall of Fame that spanned nearly two decades, Miller helped make the Pacers a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference and produced some of the greatest on-court moments in NBA history.
The Pacers are All In for 2013-14
With a nucleus of Paul George, George Hill, David West and Roy Hibbert, the Pacers are loaded with young stars and figure to be a strong contender for years to come. But with a famously competitive team president (Larry Bird), a fan base desperate for the franchise’s first NBA title and a superstar (Paul George) entering free agency after the season, the Pacers need to win right now.
In the off-season, the Pacers added some much needed depth with a trade for Luis Scola and the acquisitions of CJ Watson and Chris Copeland. But, without question, the biggest addition to Indiana’s title hopes was already on the roster. Sidelined for all but a handful of games last year because of injury, Danny Granger returns to the rotation and his presence should be huge. Until his injury, Granger was the team leader. While his absence allowed Paul George to emerge as one of the superstars in the NBA, Granger’s healthy return adds enormous value without having had to trade key assets.
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Basketball, in the state of Indiana, isn’t a sport. It’s a religion. Picture backboards on barns, overflowing high school gymnasiums and some of the most storied college programs in the country including Indiana University, Purdue and Notre Dame. While the Colts have exploded in popularity with their astonishing success, Indiana is, first and foremost, basketball country. In the heart of Indianapolis, with ALL KINDS OF FUN STUFF around, the Indiana Pacers play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, one of the best facilities on the planet. Get there with guaranteed savings from ScoreBig.com.