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INDIANA PACERS Knicks saw Miller's finest game



Published: Sat, February 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Reggie Miller is ready to end a remarkable 18-year career.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Patrick Ewing is able to laugh now about the day nearly a decade ago when Reggie Miller's shooting snatched a sure playoff victory away from his New York Knicks.

"He's a guy that when I played against him I wanted to smack him," Ewing said. "But I all I can do is take my hat off to him."

Ewing spoke Friday as the Indiana Pacers faced a future without their leader of 18 years, a day after Miller had his sister announce on national television that he would retire after this season.

The Miller highlight-reel performance that Ewing recalled happened on a Sunday afternoon when he turned a six-point Knicks lead into a 107-105 Pacers victory by hitting two 3-pointers and scoring eight points during the final 8.9 seconds to stun the Madison Square Garden crowd.

It was just one of many high-pressure shots Miller hit on his way to setting the NBA record for 3-pointers made and moving up to 14th on the league scoring list with 24,685 points going into Friday night's game against Houston.

Draft day boos

And it all came after Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh faced a cascade of boos when he selected Miller with the 11th pick in the 1987 draft out of UCLA. Many fans wanted the Pacers to draft Steve Alford, who had just led Indiana University to the NCAA championship.

"He turned out to be a great player, and you never quite know that," Walsh said Friday. "I was pretty confident that we had done the right thing."

Miller, who turns 40 in August, called Pacers coach Rick Carlisle on Thursday to tell him of his decision, which was announced by sister Cheryl Miller, a three-time player of the year at USC and now an NBA sideline reporter for TNT.

He did not discuss his decision with teammates or reporters at practice Friday morning.

Miller's retirement after 18 seasons with the Pacers would leave him behind only John Stockton, who played 19 seasons with Utah, among NBA players who have played entirely with a single franchise.

"It is so easy to get traded or become a free agent and force a sign and trade nowadays that when you see guys like Reggie and Stockton and people like that making a steadfast commitment to a franchise, there is a special meaning there," Carlisle said.

Miller's time with the Pacers coincided with the team's transformation from one of the NBA's worst -- only one win in two playoff trips during 11 NBA seasons -- into one of its most consistent. Since 1990, the Pacers have made the playoffs all but one year and have reached the Eastern Conference finals six times.




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