All December long the Back Home Again staff will be recounting the Top 25 Reggie Miller Moments of all-time as part of our “25 Days of Reggie.” The countdown will serve as a great way to get geared up for the start of the 2011 NBA season (and Christmas) as we remember and honor one of the NBA’s most clutch performers and the Indiana Pacers’ greatest player ever.
Here we are, the top 5. From here on out, these aren’t just ‘Miller Moments’, this IS Reggie Miller at his finest.
For years, it was the Pacers and the Knicks. The year before, it was the Knicks becoming the first 8-seed to make it to the NBA Finals…at the expense of Reggie and the Pacers.
The year before (1998) the Pacers dominated NY in 5 games. In 1995…well, we’ll get to that series later. But in the mean time, it was finally Reggie’s shining moment against the team we all loved to hate; in the arena and city we all despised.
“We always get to the conference finals and lose to Chicago, New York, Orlando. I told the guys before the game: if the league called you up and asked if you had one game to
advance to the Finals, WHO and WHERE would you play? Everyone in unison answered THE KNICKS in THE GARDEN.”
It was the Knicks, in the Garden…for the team’s first trip to the NBA Finals. Just like Reggie and the Pacers wanted.
It was the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6 – with a 3-2 series lead and having been unable to win at MSG all season long, Reggie and Indiana would need to shoot down the New York demons to make it to his first NBA Finals.
“We called for a Miller explosion if the Pacers were going to win on the road…” those were the NBA on NBC’s Tom Hammond’s words in the beginning of the 4th quarter as Reggie had 17 points coming into the final 12 minutes. Yeah, he exploded.
You have probably heard of Tebow Time, but the 4th quarter was MILLER TIME before it was ever Tebow Time. #31 put up half of his 34 Game 6 points in the last stanza, and he did it his way. 3 pointers, free throws…and that’s it. Miller and the Pacers had done it, defeating their biggest rival on THEIR home court. It can’t get any sweeter than that.
If you’d like to re-live that beautiful Game 6 and the postgame words from the Man himself, you can catch it all here.
For all Pacer fans, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The Knicks, at Madison Square Garden. A first trip to the NBA Finals on the line. The team led the game THROUGHOUT. And when it mattered the most, #31 came to save the day once again with 5 3’s, 3 of them in the 4th quarter when the Garden tried to will the Knicks to victory.
It wasn’t going to happen. Not on OUR night. Not with THIS much on the line. It can’t get much more perfect making it to your first NBA Finals. 48 minute later, 93-80. Headed to the Finals.
And it only gets better from here my friends. Stick and stay, the 25 Days of Reggie is gonna get REAL good.