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Pacers Win

Source: Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS — The 1997-98 Indiana Pacers were good. Really good. They knew it. The Chicago Bulls knew it, too.

It’s been 22 years since the Pacers nearly spoiled “The Last Dance” for the Michael Jordan and Bulls, and now the story will be re-told.

The final two episodes of ESPN’s 10-part series on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls begin at 9 p.m. Sunday. In a preview video, Jordan said the Pacers, who took Chicago to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals before losing 88-83 in Game 7, pushed the Bulls the hardest.

It was only the second time Jordan’s Bulls had played in a seven-game series since their first championship in 1991.

“If I had to pick a team that gave us the toughest time in the East, you know, Indiana was probably the toughest, outside of Detroit,” Jordan said.

In Larry Bird’s first season coaching the Pacers, the veteran team led by Reggie Miller, Rik Smits and Mark Jackson won a then-franchise record 58 games and easily defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs before meeting the Bulls.

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