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"I definitely felt the gravity" - Travis Best on hitting one of the biggest shots in Indiana Pacers history

Best was the smallest guy on the floor that night, but he certainly had the biggest heart
Travis Best

Travis Best

Travis Best may have not been one of the most remarkable point guards to ever play for the Indiana Pacers. However, he has a special place in the hearts of the Pacers faithful and he secured that spot after nailing a crucial three-pointer against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of their 2000 Eastern Conference first-round duel.

The little guy hit the biggest shot of the game

When we think about memorable moments in Pacers history, Reggie Miller and Paul George are the first names to pop out. Not Travis Best. Nevertheless, the man himself knows that at one point, he became the most important player on the squad.

Unlike Jeremy Lin in New York, who ultimately reached stardom, Best didn’t have to be a star to be applauded. All it took was confidence to take the biggest shot in the toughest situation. That’s what Best did to lift the Pacers to a thrilling first-round victory when nobody else had any idea on how to close the game out.

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Game 5, the series was tied, the Pacers were down one 94-93, with 45 seconds remaining. Miller was the go-to guy but he couldn’t get a clear shot so Best was forced to throw a floater and missed it. The ball went out of bounds in favor of Indiana and Best received the ball from the inbound. He pulled up for a quick long two-pointer and again missed it. Dale Davis grabbed the board and got it to the hands of Miller right away. Uncle Reg was trapped on the baseline and was forced to pass it to Best. Having missed his last two shots, Best dished it out to Jalen Rose, who instead of going for the basket, handed the ball back to the point guard.

Best wasn’t shooting well but he was open. With less than 20 seconds left on the clock, he shot a corner trey with no hesitation. And drilled it.

“I remember like it was yesterday,” Best recalled via FOX59 in 2020. “I always think about it. I’m always reminded about that shot. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jalen [Rose] wide open, so I didn’t hesitate to just whip it out to him and he had the presence of mind to put it on the floor and make something happen with it. He threw it to the open person in me, a guy who at that point was 2-for-14. He had the confidence that I would stick one and I finally did. I knew how big of a shot it was,” he relished. “I definitely felt the gravity.”

No NBA Finals if it wasn’t for Travis

Led by head coach Larry Bird, with stars Miller and Rose, who was making great strides, the Pacers looked set to reach the NBA Finals that year. And they actually did. However, none of that would’ve happened if it wasn’t for Best. Because as it turned out, that first round series against the Bucks was the toughest test the Pacers had to pass that postseason. Many may have overlooked it, but not Best and the thousands of fans in attendance that night at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

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