The Indiana Pacers assured themselves of a postseason berth with a 129-105 home rout of the Brooklyn Nets Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Ahead of ninth-place Chicago by three games with three games remaining, all it took was one win or a Bulls loss. The Pacers (43-37) were convincing from the outset against the lowly Nets with a 39-19 lead after the opening quarter.
The Pacers set a season high in points for the first quarter and the game as six players finished in double digits. The bench scored a season-high 70 points and Indiana finished with a season-best 34 assists. The game got out of hand so quickly, head coach Frank Vogel played reserves in the entire final quarter.
What remains to be determined is will the Pacers be the seventh or eighth seed. They jumped to seventh, by virtue of tiebreaker against the Detroit Pistons. If Indiana holds the No. 7 spot, it earns a first-round playoff matchup against the Toronto Raptors. Should the Pacers fall to No. 8, they would have to face the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors and Cavaliers each had 3-1 series edges against the Pacers in the regular season.
Indiana hosts the New York Knicks (32-48) Tuesday before finishing the regular season at the Milwaukee Bucks (33-47) on Wednesday. The Pistons (43-37) host Miami Tuesday and are at Cleveland on Wednesday.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” point guard George Hill said of making the playoffs in a Fox Sports Midwest on-court interview. “No matter what place you’re in, it’s what you play for.”
He’s not concerned with whom the Pacers will play.
“It doesn’t matter,” Hill said.
"It feels good," said George, who missed all but six games last season due to a broken leg. "We're back competing in the playoffs and that's what we wanted."
The Pacers made 48-of-86 shots (55.8 percent), including 11-of-27 from 3-point range (40.7 percent). The Nets (21-58), without rested center Brook Lopez and injured forward Thaddeus Young, managed to make just 35-of-91 shots (38.5 percent), including 14-of-37 from 3-point range (37.8 percent).
Indiana led by 28 at halftime and 32 entering the final quarter.
The Pacers have reached the playoffs in five of six seasons, the lone exception last year when they lost out on the eighth seed by virtue of a tiebreaker to these Nets.
"We know how to win," George said.
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