The Indiana Pacers were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat on Thursday night, ending a solid run that saw them look like they might actually be able to pull off an upset over LeBron James and friends. It apparently wasn't meant to be, however ... at least not this year.
Next year could be a different story, though, as SB Nation's Indy Cornrows took time to point out how proud they were of their team following the series finale. It probably isn't exactly what Pacers fans were hoping to think about following Game 6, but the future still seems relatively bright.
Be proud of your Indiana Pacers. They made tremendous strides this season in restoring relevancy to one of the Eastern Conference's premier franchises. They had a better season than almost any fan expected. Even this offseason looming, there won't be a lockout to weigh down excitement and better yet, Indiana will still have oodles of cap issues to help the kind of strides the Pacers can take moving forward.
If the Pacers can retain Larry Bird, hold onto Brian Shaw, and get smart deals done for Roy Hibbert and George Hill, they won't lose a single beat, putting them right back in the thick of things next season, likely as the favorites in the Central Division.
It'll be interesting to see what the Pacers are able to do this summer, but after seemingly overachieving this season, it looks like Indiana is on its way up as far as NBA prominence is concerned.