The Indiana Pacers defeated the New York Knicks in Game 7 of their second-round Eastern Conference playoff series on Sunday afternoon to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals. It represents the Pacers' deepest postseason run since 2014.

However, some are placing an asterisk on Indiana's 2024 playoff success, particularly ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

The Pacers entered the playoffs as the sixth seed and ended up drawing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. You would think that would be a tough matchup, but the thing is, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the entire series with a calf injury, and Damian Lillard was sidelined for a couple of games in the series due to an Achilles issue.

Indiana beat the Bucks in six games.

Then, the Pacers took advantage of a very beat up Knicks squad that was dealing with a plethora of injuries.

While Windhorst credits Indiana for beating New York in a Game 7 “on the road,” saying that the Pacers “absolutely deserved it,” he is obviously questioning their legitimacy as they head into their conference finals matchup with the Boston Celtics.

The Pacers aren't the only team to take advantage of injuries

Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates with guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) in the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the problem with nitpicking what the Pacers have accomplished throughout this playoff run: teams take advantage of injuries in the playoffs nearly every year.

Indiana is hardly the first NBA club to capitalize on another team's misfortune, so we probably shouldn't be ripping the Pacers too much. Now, would they have beaten Milwaukee had Antetokounmpo and Lillard been healthy? Probably not. They also probably wouldn't have beaten a healthy Knicks team.

But the fact of the matter is that the Pacers have beaten whoever has been in front of them, and now, they are four wins away from the NBA Finals as a result.

Funny enough, the Celtics have their own injury issues, as center Kristaps Porzingis has been out with a calf injury. There is optimism that Porzingis may return at some point against Indiana, but he will most likely be sidelined for the early stages of the matchup.

The Pacers won 47 games during the regular season and acquired Pascal Siakam in a major midseason trade with the Toronto Raptors. That gave Indiana rather impressive trio of Siakam, Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner, and the squad was able to ride those three to a playoff berth.

Indy has also gotten key contributions from role players such as Aaron Nesmith and Obi Toppin.

But now, the Pacers will face their toughest task yet. Even with Porzingis out, Boston has looked dominant. The C's won 64 games during the regular season, the best mark in the league. They have gone 8-2 thus far in the playoffs, dispatching both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. Heck, even the Celtics benefited from some nice injury luck, as Jimmy Butler was out for the Heat, and Donovan Mitchell missed the last couple of games of Boston's second-round series with the Cavaliers.

Let's just give Indiana credit for having a nice regular season and making it this far in the playoffs. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Pacers' run will probably end against the Celtics, but it has certainly been one heck of a year for them.