Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller scores eight points in 11 seconds to lead his team over the New York Knicks 107-105 on this day in 1995. Miller was famous throughout his career for what became known as “Miller Time,” clutch performances to finish games. This 1995 Eastern Conference semifinal playoff was Miller’s greatest late-game display, and one of the most shocking endings to a game in NBA history.
Miller came to the Indiana Pacers in 1987, the 11th pick in the first round, in spite of local enthusiasm for Indiana native and Indiana University hero Steve Alford. That season, Miller set a rookie record for three-point field goals with 61; the record had formerly been held by Indianan Larry Bird.
Miller and the Pacers announced themselves as NBA contenders in 1994, when they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for a playoff series against the Knicks. After losing the first two games in New York, the Pacers won two in Indiana. In the fifth game, Miller, a famous trash talker, began a running courtside dialogue with passionate Knick fan and renowned filmmaker Spike Lee. Despite the distractions, Miller was magnificent, going 5 for 5 from behind the arc and scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter for a total of 39 and a 93-86 Pacers victory. However, New York went on to win Games 6 and 7, and the series.
In Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Pacers trailed the Knicks by six points with 18.7 seconds to play. Miller hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass from Knick point guard Greg Anthony, dribbled backwards behind the three-point line and made another three. After Knicks guard John Starks missed two foul shots, Miller grabbed a Patrick Ewing miss, was fouled and calmly sank his two free throws (not surprising, as Miller shot .888 from the line for his career). Miller scored eight points in 11 seconds to end the game, shocking Spike Lee and the rest of Knicks fandom. This time, Indiana won the series in seven games, only to lose to Orlando in the conference finals.
In the 1999 Eastern Conference finals, the Pacers had another shot to beat the Knicks and play for the NBA title, but this time Miller let them down. He shot 3 for 18 in the deciding Game 6, including 1 for 8 from the three-point line, scoring only eight points while New York’s Allan Houston poured in 32 to lead the Knicks to the Eastern Conference title.