Friday, June 8, 2012

Flashback Fridays

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Today we look back at Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. The Knicks had eliminated the Pacers in both the 1993 and 1994 postseasons, and the matchup had turned into quite a rivalry. Game 1 of the '95 series was a back and forth affair, but the Knicks appeared to have them match in hand late in the 4th quarter leading 105-99. Unfortunately for the Knicks, it was 'Miller Time.' Indiana had the ball at halfcourt with just 18.7 seconds to play and the inbounds pass went straight to Pacers star Reggie Miller who buried a three pointer in John Starks' face. New York went to inbound the ball, but Anthony Mason fell down and the inbounds pass was stolen by Miller who took a step back and buried a second consecutive three-pointer to tie the game at 105. 

Still, the Knicks had their opportunities to close out Indiana. John Starks was fouled on the ensuing possession and went to the free throw line. A career 77% free throw shooter, the odds were in New York's favor, but Starks missed both free throws. The Knicks' nightmare continued when the rebound of the second miss was grabbed by Knicks center Patrick Ewing, but he promptly clanged a 10-footer and Miller, of all people, grabbed the rebound and was fouled, leaving the Knicks and Madison Square Garden in utter shock. The reliable Miller drained both free throws giving him 8 points in a span of 8.9 seconds and putting the Pacers ahead 107-105. The Knicks collapse was completed a few seconds later when point guard Greg Anthony fell down while driving to the basket as time ran out giving the Pacers and unlikely Game 1 win on the road. The Pacers would go on to win the series in 7 games cementing Reggie Miller's place in history as one of the NBA's great clutch performers. 
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Miller finished with 31 points in the game, but it was Rik Smits, the Dunkin' Dutchman, who led all scorers with 34. John Starks led 7 Knicks in double figures with 21.

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