The 2003 season was highlighted by a brawl between the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons.
Going at the end of the game, as the Pacers will win the game, Ron Artest of the Pacers landed a hard foul against Ben Wallace which triggered Wallace to return with a hard punch. The situation had escalated into a full-scale brawl wherein even the fans were involved.
As Artest stood up in the scorers table, a fan named John Green threw a cup of beer at Artest which resulted Artest to retaliate to the stands. Stephen Jackson and Jermain O’neal also had fights with the fans.
Many players that were involved in the incident were suspended, including Ron Artest who have given a suspension for the whole season by the NBA commissioner David Stern. Ron Artest would have miss the whole season with a total of 73 games.
Other suspensions were Jackson for 30 games, O’neal for 25 and later on reduced to 15, Wallace for 6 games and Anthony Johnson for 5 games. O’neal was charged with two counts of assault as Artest, Jackson, Johnson and David Harrison were chared with one each.
After the series of suspension, the Pacers had gone down the hill as they were a title contender into a team that barely had a .500 winning percentage. Despite the suspensions, the Pacers still had a decent record of 44-38, that earned them the 6th spot in the playoffs.
In the first round of the postseason, they eliminate the Boston Celtics and went on to face the Detroit Pistons in the second round. They lost the series in six games and resulting into the resignation of Reggie Miller.
Following the season, they still managed to made it into the playoffs as Jermain O’neal led the team despite the loss of Reggie Miller. They faced the New Jersey Nets but will eventually lose in six games.
In 2006-07 season, the Pacers would finish as one of the worst season of the franchise coming from the injuries they had from their key players and Jermain O’neal. On the April of 2007, the Pacers fired Rick Carlisle and replaced Jim O’Brien as the head coach. In 2007-08 season, the team showed some improvement and growth.
They finished the season with 36-46 record but still failed to qualify for the postseason. The improvement of the record would be because of the improvement of Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger. In 2009-10 season, the Pacers acquired Tyler Hansbrough who had a season ending injury. They finished the season with under.500 winning percentage and still missed the playoffs for 4 years in a row.
It was Danny Granger who provided the scoring and bright spot for the Pacers. They acquired Darren Collison and James Posey from the Hornets. The improvement of Roy Hibbert had also resulted to an improvement of the team for the 2010-11 season. Hibbert became a defensive presence in the paint and Granger continued to be a scoring machine for the Pacers.