INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers spent all season fighting expectations.
On Wednesday, they finally ran out of steam and fell one win short of making the playoffs.
The future still looks bright.
Paul George returned from his broken right leg sooner than expected after the gruesome scene in Las Vegas last August, and the Pacers went 5-1 with their two-time All-Star in uniform. George Hill showed he could thrive with a heavier workload, leading the Pacers to a 23-14 mark in his starts. C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey proved valuable additions, and Solomon Hill showed he's a capable NBA defender.
Now for the first time in five years, the Pacers will have a lottery pick in the draft -- a pick that could quickly put them back in the title contender conversation.