Even a casual Reggie Miller fan knows about when he scored eight points in 8.9 seconds against the New York Knicks in 1995. It’s legendary.
But you may have forgotten when the Indiana Pacers great first made his name as a clutch performer in another historic playoff game against the Knicks on June 1, 1994.
On this day 25 years ago, the Pacers trailed the Knicks by 12 points heading into the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals. That’s when Miller unleashed 25 points in one quarter in one of the greatest performances of his Hall-of-Fame NBA career.
Miller’s stream of shots silenced the raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden and he taunted movie director Spike Lee — a huge Knicks fan — with his hands-around-his-throat choke sign.
Indiana outscored New York 35-16 that quarter to notch a 93-86 victory and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Miller scored 39 points for the game.
It was truly “Miller Time.”
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Four years ago, SI.com posted a piece by Jack McCallum in which he recounted that quarter shot by shot, adding a little commentary from Miller along the way.
Here’s a sampling:
“You gotta understand, this is a little tough for me,” Miller told McCallum. “Not this particular game, of course, but memories of the whole series. I don’t like to think about it.”
“On that night, in the fourth period, the Pacer guard changed the weather pattern in New York City by raining jump shot after jump shot upon the heads of the dazed Knicks,” McCallum wrote.
“Game 5 confirmed Miller’s status as the league’s premier practitioner of the ancient art of jump shooting. … He made jumpers from both sides of the court, off the dribble and from behind screens, in heavy congestion and far from the madding crowd. One of his three-pointers was a what-the-hell heave from about 27 feet, but it was still a classic Miller jumper, arms extended above the head, elbow on the shooting arm (the right) slightly askew, eyes following the ball. “
Miller had an amazing career. The spindly 6-7, 190-pound shooting guard was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2012. A five-time NBA All-Star, he scored over 25,000 points in his career and is second in league history with 2,560 3-pointers. He also won a gold medal with the 1996 U.S. Olympic team (Dream Team II).
Unfortunately, he never ended up winning an NBA championship, although he did lead the Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000, where they lost the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2.
And that playoff series against the Knicks 25 years ago also fell short. The Pacers were defeated in seven games.