Record and standing: 44-38, 3rd in Central Division
Hall of Famer(s): Reggie Miller
Scoring leader: Jermaine O'Neal (24.3 PPG)
Rebounds leader: Jeff Foster (9.0 RPG)
Assists leader: Jamaal Tinsley (6.7 APG)
Round eliminated: Eastern Conference Semifinals
While the season was still young when the infamous Malice in the Palace brawl broke out, the Indiana Pacers had assembled a team that looked ready to make a lot of noise in the Eastern Conference. Veteran star Reggie Miller—playing in his final season—was complemented by budding stars Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest, with Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley providing excellent depth as well. Up until November 19 in Detroit, things were going well; the Pacers were 6-2, cruising to another win, and looked every bit the part of championship contender.
Then the Malice at the Palace happened and when the dust settled the Pacers were forced to play without the services of Artest (entire season plus playoffs), Jackson (30 games), and O'Neal (15 games). As a result, the Pacers were never truly able to compete with their top squad, and ultimately fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the same Pistons squad they rumbled with months earlier.