Bulls–Pacers rivalry

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Bulls–Pacers rivalry
Chicago Bulls wordmark.gif
Chicago Bulls
Indiana Pacers
First meeting October 23, 1976
Latest meeting March 18, 2015
(United Center)
Next meeting November 16, 2015
(United Center)
Meetings total 184 meetings
All-time series 99–85 (CHI)
Regular season series 91–81 (CHI)
Postseason results 8–4 (CHI)
Longest win streak
Current win streak CHI W1
Post-season history

The Bulls–Pacers rivalry is an NBA rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers. It began with the two clubs playing in the Central Division. The Bulls and the Pacers have met twice in the NBA playoffs, starting with their first playoff meeting in 1998. This rivalry is best known from the match-ups in the 1990s in which Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller would go head-to-head.[1] The rivalry was renewed when the two teams faced each other in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, which the Bulls won in 5 games.[2]


As of 2014, the Bulls and Pacers have met 2 times in the NBA Playoffs with the Bulls having won both series.

Year Winner Series
1998 Chicago Bulls 4–3
2011 Chicago Bulls 4–1


Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller

On February 12, 1993, a regular-seasoned game between the Bulls and Pacers became heated as a fight broke out between Bull's Michael Jordan and Pacer's Reggie Miller. The altercation began after a series of pushing and shoving escalated between Jordan and Miller. The fight started when Miller bumped into Jordan with his forearm after a made Indiana basket which caused Jordan to retaliate. Jordan chased down and confronted Miller. After the two were separated, Miller and Pacers head coach, Bob Hill, were ejected from the game. Controversy spurred as Jordan was neither ejected from the game or given a flagrant foul, which led Miller to believe a double-standard existed because of Jordan's popularity and NBA superstar status.[3] The National Basketball Association conducted an investigation and Rod Thorn, NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, determined that Jordan's actions warranted punishment. He was deemed as the aggressor in the fight for throwing a punch at Miller. Jordan was suspended for one game and fined $10,000. Miller was not suspended but fined $6,000.[4]

"The Bow"

On January 21, 1994, Reggie Miller made a jump shot to put the Indiana Pacers up by two points against the Chicago Bulls with under a second remaining. Miller then sprinted to the half court line after Chicago called a timeout and bowed twice towards the fans in the Chicago Stadium.[5] With 0.8 seconds left on the shot clock, Bull's Toni Kukoč threw up a three-pointer bank shot to win the game 96-95. In their next meeting, the Bulls defeated the Pacers 90-81 at the Market Square Arena, sweeping the Pacers in the regular season. At the end of the game, Scottie Pippen mimicked Miller by bowing towards the Pacer fans.[6]

Rose comments

In October 2013, Derrick Rose expressed his thoughts on the state of the rivalry between the two franchises:

People say that it's a rivalry, but I don't really see it.

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls guard


Playoff Summaries

1998 NBA Eastern Conference Finals

This is the first meeting between the Bulls coached by Phil Jackson and the Pacers coached by Larry Bird in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The series began with the Bulls having home court advantage in the United Center on May 17, 1998. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 85-79 in Game 1 and 104-98 in Game 2. The series than shifted to Market Square with Reggie Miller leading Indiana in the final minutes to a 107-105 victory. In Game 4, Reggie Miller, who was guarded by Michael Jordan, shot the game-winning three-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to avoid a 3-1 deficit. Miller's game winner evened the series to 2-2.[8] After Chicago won Game 5 by 19 points, Indiana Pacers fought back to win Game 6, 92-89. As a result, the defending NBA champions were on the brink of elimination, which made the Pacers become one of only two teams to force a Game 7 in the Bulls' title years. Michael Jordan, determined to return to the NBA Finals, guaranteed to the press that the Bulls would win Game 7.[9] Chicago triumphed in Game 7 with a final score of 88-83 and advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Utah Jazz coached by Jerry Sloan. Despite the Jazz having home court advantage, The Bulls went on to win the NBA Finals in a 4-2 series for their sixth NBA title. Michael Jordan was voted the Most Valuable Player making it his sixth NBA Finals MVP award. Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was Jordan's final NBA game with the Chicago Bulls.

2011 NBA Eastern Conference First Round

This is the second meeting between the Bulls and the Pacers in the Playoffs. The Bulls led by Coach Tom Thibodeau defeated Frank Vogel's Pacers to advance to the Conference Semifinals.


  1. Benson, Elizabeth (November 15, 2013). "The 5 Biggest Moments of the 1990s Chicago-Indiana Rivalry". dimemag.com. Dime Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Aschburner, Steve (March 6, 2012). "Chicago is out in front in budding Bulls-Pacers rivalry". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved November 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Ford, Bob (February 13, 1993). "For Jordan, A One-game Suspension He Was Fined, Too, As Was His Adversary, Indiana's Reggie Miller". philly.com. Interstate General Media. Retrieved November 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Brown, Clifton (February 13, 1993). "Late Call: Jordan Suspended and Fined". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Ten Greatest Bull Shots". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 13, 1993. Retrieved November 12, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Isaacson, Melissa (January 23, 1994). "Bulls Take Bow With A Sweep". chicagotribune.com. Tribune Publishing Company. Retrieved November 12, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Derrick Rose: Pacers no longer a rival." ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-May-01.
  8. Merron, Jeff. "Greatest Conference Finals". espn.go.com. ESPN. Retrieved October 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Smith, Stephen (May 30, 1998). "Still In The Hunt Pacers Hold Off Bulls To Force Game 7". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>