Reggie Miller to serve as game analyst on 18th anniversary of eight points, 8.9 seconds
Hall of Fame shooting guard Reggie Miller will be courtside at Madison Square Garden for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals featuring the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. Paired with Kevin Harlan, Miller will be the analyst for TNT’s broadcast. It will be his second time sitting at center court to commentate on a Pacers game this season, the other was back on Jan. 10 when the Pacers beat the Knicks 81-76.
Coincidentally, the game in New York is on the 18th anniversary of Miller’s memorable eight points in 8.9 seconds night. There is some symmetry, as it was a Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup and played in New York. The 107-105 win gave that 1995 Pacers team a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The incredible game and series was a focal point in an ESPN’s 30-for-30 “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks.“
This is how it all went down.
A timeout was taken after Knicks guard Greg Anthony hit two free throws to put the Knicks in front 105-99. The home team appeared to have all the confidence in the world that with 18.7 seconds remaining, the game was in the bag.
“Everyone thought the game was over,” Jeff Van Gundy, a Knicks assistant at the time, recalled in the documentary. Pacers president Donnie Walsh said in the 30 for 30, that he left his seats, went into his smoking room, and shut the door thinking the game was over.
Not No. 31.
The first three-pointer came on a side inbounds play. Mark Jackson hit Miller as he came around a screen. His fadeaway on the left arc over John Starks went in and pulled the Pacers to within three points with 16.4 seconds left. Anthony Mason took the ball out, instead of Derrick Harper who was thrown out earlier in the game along with Rik Smits after an altercation. Mason, leaning forward on the baseline, threw it in but the ball went right to Miller as Greg Anthony fell to the ground (partly because of a push-off by Miller). Reggie then took one dribble and a spin back to the three-point line and fired the shot up. It went through to tie the game at 105 with 13.2 seconds to play.
Indiana’s Sam Mitchell then made a questionable – and regrettable – decision and fouled Starks, but he missed both foul shots and Patrick Ewing’s put-back was no good.
After Ewing’s shot bounced hard off the iron, Miller went up and got the ball, and was fouled by Starks in the process. Miller toed the line at the Garden and sunk them both with the crowd hollering. That gave the Pacers a two-point advantage with 7.5 seconds on the clock. Anthony brought the ball up and stumbled to the floor on the right side as he tried to make a move towards the baseline.
Miller and the Pacers completed the comeback, and stole Game 1 at the Garden, 107-105.
“John Starks choked. We came up big,” Miller said in his postgame interview on NBC. “This is for you Indiana, we’re coming back!”
They wound up beating the Knicks in seven games as Ewing’s layup at the front of the hoop bounced off the back of the rim. Indiana’s season, however, ended in conference finals for the second season in a row, this time to the Orlando Magic (4-3).
For all the dazzling moments in Miller’s 18-year career, all with the Pacers, who drafted him 11th overall in the 1987 draft, this may have been his most spectacular. It’s safe to say his time with the team and this particularly game will be highlighted in the Tuesday’s broadcast on TNT.
Miller’s number, 31, was retired in 2006 and last September, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as was Mel Daniels. The late Roger Brown will be going in this fall.