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“I knew immediately” — Reggie Miller on scoring 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the New York Knicks

Reggie Miller gave Knicks forward Anthony Mason some props for delivering the best chest pass he's ever seen.

As the adage goes, “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” This is the credo Reggie Miller lives by. With a small dose of luck and a spoonful of skill, Miller scored 8 points in 8.9 seconds to power the Indiana Pacers over the New York Knicks in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals. Miller looked back on that fateful night.

The best chest pass

The Pacers actually had a safe nine-point lead near the end of the third quarter. But in the fourth, they gave the Knicks a chance to come back. With 18.7 seconds to go, the Pacers were down 105-99. Miller believed that anything is possible if he knocked down a quick 3-pointer.

He did knock one down to cut the Knicks’ lead to just three points with 16.4 seconds left. Then, Knicks forward Anthony Mason, whom Knicks assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy said in hindsight is their worst inbounder, inbounded the ball.

I saw Anthony Mason kind of leaning and tipping over the line and he threw the best chest pass I’ve ever seen in my life right to me. And I knew immediately,” Miller said, per IndyStar.

I easily could have gone in for the lay in,” he said. “I said, ‘Let me get back to the 3 and tie her up. And that’s what happened.

13.2 seconds were on the clock after Miller’s second 3-pointer. The Pacers did not need to foul yet. But Sam Mitchell, apparently lost in the scheme of things, fouled John Starks. They were at the penalty.

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Fate

The crowd at Madison Square Garden was still processing what just happened as Starks prepared for the two free throws that would give them a two-point lead. Even the guard was flustered by how things quickly developed. From a safe cushion just a few seconds ago, Starks found himself in a pressure cooker.

I’m walking to the free throw line thinking like, ‘Man, did this dude just did this?’” Starks said.

Though Miller just gut-punched the Knicks with his 3-pointers, he still knew anything could happen. He tempered his hopes, even though Starks missed the first free throw.

There is no way he’s going to miss the second,” Miller said. “There is absolutely no way.

As fate would have it, Starks missed the second free throw. Patrick Ewing snagged the offensive rebound but missed the putback. The lanky Miller got the defensive rebound, was intentionally fouled, and hit the two free throws to put away the game for good.

I go to shoot the foul shots,” Miller said. “And that’s where the last two points come for 8 points in 8.9 seconds.” 

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