1967/68: The state of Indiana has a long storied love affair with basketball, with great passion for basketball on the High School level where small farm towns have become state legends for beating teams from the big city. However its initial flirtation with pro basketball was not successful as Indianapolis Olympians and Fort Wayne Pistons were two teams that never made it past the NBA’s infancy before folding in the case of the Olympians and moving to Detroit as the Pistons. A decade after the Fort Wayne Pistons moved; Indiana again had a pro team in the upstart American Basketball Association with Pacers, named so because they hoped to set the pace for the rest of the league. The first player taken by the Pacers was Roger Brown who had been working in a local factory. That first season the Pacers would not set the pace as they finished in third place with a record of 38-40. It the playoffs they would go on to be swept in three straight games by the Pittsburgh Pipers.
1968/69: Heading into year two the Pacers acquired Center Mel Daniels from the Minnesota Muskies who were in the middle of relocating to Miami. However, the team would still lag behind losing seven of their first nine games when Coach Larry Staverman is fired and replaced by Bob Leonard. Initially the Pacers would struggle under new coach Bob Leonard, winning just three of their next 11 games for a 5-15 start. However, all at once it came together and the Pacers become unstoppable scoring at frantic pace averaging 119.6 ppg, as they caught up to the field and passed them by to win the Eastern Division with a 44-34 record. In the playoffs the Pacers would have to charge from behind again as they dropped three of their first four games to the Kentucky Colonels, before winning three straight games to race on to the Eastern Finals, where they would lap the Miami Floridians in five games. However, in the ABA Finals the Pacers would run out of gas as they are beaten by the Oakland Oaks in five games.
1969/70: The Pacers would quickly jump out in front in their third season as they posted a solid 59-25 to capture their second straight Division Title lapping the field by 14 games. Along the way the Pacers set a single game ABA record with 177 points in an April 12th game against the Pittsburgh Pipers. In the playoffs the Pacers would continue to dominate sweeping the Carolina Cougars in four straight games. In the Eastern Finals the Pacers would drop Game 1 to the Kentucky Colonels before roaring back to win the next four games for their second straight trip to the ABA Finals. In the Finals the Pacers would quickly take the lead taking three of the first four games against the Los Angeles Stars, before winning the ABA Championship in six games. In the ABA Finals Roger Brown the first player selected by the Pacers scored 45 points including 7 3-pointers.
1970/71: With realignment the Pacers are shifted to the Western Division where they would win their third straight Division title edging the Utah Stars by one game with a record of 58-26, as Mel Daniels won his secpnd MVP Award in three years. In the Playoffs would quickly dispatch the Memphis Pros with a four game sweep. However, in a rematch of the previous years ABA Finals the Pacers would fall behind the Stars now based in Utah three games to one. The Pacers would surge back to force a seventh game at home. However the Stars would stun the Pacers with a 108-102 win to reach the ABA Finals.
1971/72: Standout rookie George McGinnis, who had left Indiana University after his sophomore season, was added to an already potent lineup, as the Pacers posted a 47-37 record while finishing in second Place. In the playoffs the Pacers would be put to the test right away as they needed seven games to beat the Denver Rockets. Facing the Utah Stars again in the Western Finals the pacers would quickly find themselves down two games to none as they lost the first two games in Utah. However the Pacers would even the series with two wins at home. After losing Game 5 in Utah the Pacers forced a seventh game with a six point win at home. After the home team won the first six games the Pacers stunned the Stars with a 117-113 win in Utah to reach the ABA Finals. In the ABA Finals the Pacers and New York Nets would split the first four games. In Game 5 the Pacers took the series lead with a dramatic one point win, they would go to win the series in six games with a hard fought 108-105 victory for their second Championship in three years.
1972/73: Coming of their second ABA Championship the Pacers would again find themselves at the front of the pack, finishing in second Place with a solid 51-33 record. In the playoffs the Pacers would quickly blitz the Denver Rockets in five games before a rematch with the Utah Stars in the Western Division Finals. The Pacers and Stars would split the first four games before the Pacers stunned the Stars with a dramatic 104-102 win in Game 5. The Pacers would go on to speed off to the ABA Finals. In the Finals the Pacers would fall behind early dropping two of their first three games to the Kentucky Colonels the Pacers would rally to win the next two games to take a 3-2 lead. However, the Colonels would bounce back to force a seventh game at Indiana. Led by the dominant frontcourt play of George McGinnis the Pacers would win their second straight ABA Championship and third in four years with an 88-81 win.
1973/74: Seeking their third straight ABA Championship the Pacers finished in second place with a record of 46-38, as George McGinnis continued to lead the league in rebounds, pulling down 37 boards in a January 12th game against the Carolina Cougars. In the playoffs the Pacers would need seven games to knock off the San Antonio Spurs for their sixth straight trip to the Conference Finals. In the Western Finals against the Utah Stars the Pacers would quickly find themselves on the brink as they dropped their first three games. However, the Pacers would zoom back winning the next three games to force a seventh game. However they would not be able to pas the Stars who dominated the Pacers in Game 7, winning by 22 points on the way to the ABA Finals.
1974/75: The Pacers were rewarded for their success with a new arena known as the Market Square Arena, which they christened with a loss to the San Antonio Spurs in double overtime on October 18th. Five days later the Pacers would beat the Spirits of St. Louis for their first win at their new home. The Pacers would go on to finish in third place with a record of 45-39. In the playoffs the Pacers would get revenge by beating the Spurs in six games to reach the Conference Finals again. In the Western Finals the Pacers would beat the Denver Nuggets in a hard fought seven game series to reach their fifth ABA Finals in seven years. However, in the finals the Pacers would be beaten by the Kentucky Colonels in five games.
1975/76: The ABA had begun to show signs of dying as the remaining nine teams are placed in one division. Quickly two of those remaining nine teams would fold leaving the ABA with seven, as rumors of the league folding surrounded the Pacers all season. At the same time the Pacers stars were all gone or past their prime and the team found itself in the middle of the pack, as they finished in fifth pace with a 39-45 record. In first round play in series the Pacers would be beaten by the Kentucky Colonels in a three game series. Following the season the Pacers along with The Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs would join the NBA, as the ABA sank into history. In the ABA’s nine years the Pacers were the only team to win back to back title while taking a record three ABA Championships.
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the American Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Indiana Pacers or the ABA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 18, 2012. Last updated on May 4, 2014 at 12:00 am ET.