INDIANAPOLIS — Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers clinched a spot in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament championship Thursday.
Their success on the national stage has ignited local excitement for the team not seen in at least a decade.
The Pacers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Las Vegas for their spot in the title game, but the first knockout round victory against the Boston Celtics at Gainbridge Fieldhouse Monday night set the tone.
"I haven't felt excitement like that since the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals," said fan Ryan Brown, who attended Monday's game.
"I don't think I've seen a crowd like that since the Jermaine O'Neal days," added Kyle Bovee, another Pacers fan in the crowd Monday night.
That excitement carried over into the Pacers' watch party Thursday at Brothers Bar & Grill in downtown Indianapolis.
Brothers general manager Brett Cleary said the energy around the Pacers is already translating to more sales this season.
"We've seen a tremendous increase in business this year," Cleary said. "Potentially double the crowd so far and I think we'll see a lot of people coming in the future."
Cleary believes the Pacers' success and the upcoming NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse is a needed boost for downtown Indianapolis businesses after struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Great sports is always good for business," Cleary said. "Winning teams always help."
The Pacers are hosting a watch party for the In-Season Tournament Championship on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the game will start at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and seating will be general admission. There is a limit of six tickets to the watch party per person.
For tickets, click here.