Watching professional basketball, or any sport really, is a sure fire way to get the blood flowing. Especially during playoff games where each second, each shot, and each foul count three-fold. Watching those players that shock us the most makes the game even more so worth watching. And Reggie Miller is a prime example of one of these kinds of players. On May 7, 1995 Miller, Indiana Pacers guard, would make NBA history against the New York Knicks. Reggie scored eight points in eleven seconds to lead his team to victory which a final score of 107-105. What made this victory so clutch? It was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinal playoffs.
In a slew of late-game displays of greatness, this was certainly Miller’s best display. Moreover it was the one of the most jaw-dropping ending to any game in NBA history. In 1987, Miller was 11th pick in the first round of the NBA draft and he went to the Pacers. Despite more of a local enthusiasm for Indiana native/Indiana University hero Steve Alford. In the 1987 season, Reggie set the rookie record for three-point field goals, with 61 of them. Formerly the record had been held by Indianan Larry Bird.
In 1994, the Pacers and Miller announced themselves as top NBA contenders when they proceeded to the Eastern Conference finals, with a playoff series against the Knicks. Initially the Pacers lost the first two games in New York, but then won two games at home. During the fifth game Miller showed the capacity of his skillset. From behind the arc he went 5 for 5 and scored 35 points during the fourth quarter, with a total of 39 during the game, and led the Pacers to a victory of 93-86. But eventually they would lose to the Knicks in Game 7 of the series.
But the Pacers had their chance at glory, once again, in 1995. During Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Pacers were behind the Knicks by 6 points, with just 18.7 seconds left in the game. And just like that, Miller made a three-pointer (16 seconds left), then stole a pass from the Knicks point guard, Greg Anthony. Miller dribbled backwards behind the arc and made another three-pointer. Once Knicks guard John Starks missed two free-throw shots, Miller was fouled by Patrick Ewing, and then proceeded to sink his two free-throw shots. Which was expected of Miller since he shot .888 from the line for his entire career. And there he made eight points in eleven seconds, much to the surprise of everyone watching. The Pacers would win the series, but then lose to Orlando in the conference finals.
Regardless of wins or losses, Miller defied gravity and all rational basketball thought on this day May 7, 21 years ago.