Pacers clinch third seed in the NBA Playoffs

Indiana PacersAtlanta HawksOrlando MagicDetroit PistonsNBA PlayoffsNBADwight Howard

A chance passed the last two night for the Pacers to clinch the third seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

Indeed a third time was the charm for the team.

The Atlanta Hawks' loss to the New York Knickson Sunday afternoon has locked the Pacers into the third seed of the playoffs which begin this coming weekend. Atlanta was the last team with an opportunity to catch the Pacers for that spot in the standings.

A third-seed is the highest for the Pacers since the 2004 season when they were the top seed in the East. That season Indiana won its first two series but fell in the conference finals to the Pistons in six games.

The team was last a third seed in 2003 but were upset in the opening round by sixth-seeded Boston in six games.

Right now it appears that the Pacers will be facing the Magic in the first round of the playoffs. As of Sunday afternoon Orlando held a two-and-a-half game lead over New York for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Magic have lost their last two game and will be without the services of leading scorer Dwight Howard for the post-season after his back surgery this week.

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