INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers had a number of factors in their favor last night: a healthy roster, a hot team, a sellout crowd and the motivation of being able to clinch a playoff berth.
The Washington Bullets had Pervis Ellison.
He wasn't enough.
With a 117-103 victory at Market Square Arena, the Pacers (37-37) secured their second consecutive playoff berth for the first time in franchise history and, in the process, officially eliminated the Bullets.
Indiana, 18-10 since the All-Star break, seized control of the tempo behind Reggie Miller's 17-point third quarter and the Bullets (27-47) were unable to keep pace despite the best overall game of Ellison's young career.
Despite foul trouble that limited his playing time, Ellison had a career-high 30 points and added 12 rebounds. He made 14 of 16 shots. Ellison, who fouled out with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining, has established his career highs in both points and rebounds (15) against Indiana.
"Pervis Ellison played an outstanding game," said Indiana coach Bob Hill. "We were fortunate that we were able to get him into foul trouble, because I don't know if we have anyone on our roster who can handle a guy who does the things he does."
Miller, who did not return to the game after jamming his thumb late in the third quarter, led the Pacers with 22 points. Vern Fleming, who was unhurt in an auto accident on his way to the arena, had 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 21.
"I was proud of the way the guys played," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld. We were in it all the way and gave ourselves a chance to win."