INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- No one gets the Pacers going the way Reggie Miller does. And nobody gets Miller going the way the Indiana fans
After sitting on the bench for all but two minutes of the fourth
quarter in the series opener, Miller showed Monday night why the
tight moments are when he's needed most.
With the crowd chanting "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!'', Miller drilled a
3-pointer, allowing the Pacers to hold on and beat Boston 89-77,
evening the Eastern Conference playoff series 1-1.
"They were chanting and chanting. If it wasn't for them, I may
have never gotten a shot,'' Miller said. "They helped push that
"It's not how many you take, but how many you make.''
Miller made the clinching shot of Game 2.
"Reggie always understands the rhythm and momentum of the
game,'' said coach Isiah Thomas. "He really provided the shot in
the arm we needed.''
Jermaine O'Neal scored 23 points and tied the Pacers' NBA
playoff record with 20 rebounds. Miller had 18 points and Jamaal
Tinsley 15 for the Pacers.
"We fell short and I think we just had tired legs at the end,''
Game 3 is Thursday night in Boston.
Boston has rallied from large double-digits deficits in both
games of the series. The Celtics trailed by 16 in the third period
and by 13 with 7½ minutes left in the opener. They were down Monday
by 18 late in the first quarter.
Twice in the third quarter, Boston pulled within one. The
Celtics, though, never took the lead. This time, the Pacers were
able to slow down Pierce and Walker. The All-Star duo went
12-for-19 from the floor, slowed by Ron Artest and some zone defense.
"We did our job by getting one game,'' Pierce said. "We've
just go to take care of business at home.''
Both players were hit with technical fouls. Pierce was whistled
in the third quarter for pushing Artest, and Walker got in some
late-game trash talking with O'Neal.
"We knocked them down, we're not going to pick them up. They
knock us down, I hope they don't try and pick us up, because then
it shows a sign of weakness,'' Pierce said.
The Celtics were down by five early in the fourth quarter. But
Indiana was up by nine when Tinsley's 3-pointer made it 81-69.
After struggling with his jumper for most of the season, Tinsley
has found his stroke. He made three of his five 3s in Game 1 and
finished Game 2 4-for-5.
"He's still not a good 3-point shooter,'' Miller cracked.
The Celtics would get the gap under 10 one last time. That's
when the Pacers turned to Miller.
He missed nine of his first 12 shots, but the crowd got behind
him and began chanting his name. So Miller took a pass just to the
left of the top of the arc and hit the 3-pointer. The crowd
erupted, the Pacers led 86-74 and they never looked back.
Miller pumped his right fist and mouthed 'Thank you' to the
If the fourth-quarter failure in Game 1 was much like their
post-All-Star break meltdown, then in the first quarter the Pacers
played like they did when they started 37-15.
O'Neal started strong, scoring 12 points in the first quarter
and had 17 at the half.
"Without Jermaine, we go nowhere,'' Thomas said. "He's the guy
who's carried us all season.''
They went on a 20-4 run, sharing the basketball with crisp
passes and a couple of alley-oops. After Artest's 3-pointer gave
the Pacers a 25-8 lead, the crowd went wild and Miller waved his
arms in encouragement as Boston called timeout.
Miller's free throw on a technical foul gave Indiana a 26-8
lead, its largest of the game, with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
The Pacers shot 64 percent in the half and had 12 assists on 14
field goals, but couldn't contain Boston's outside game in the
Two 3-pointers by Walter McCarty and one by Walker allowed
Boston to slice the deficit to 33-24 at the end of the quarter.
Miller played in his 111th career playoff game, the most
ever by a Pacer. .. Thomas was booed during pregame introductions.
... The Pacers have never won a playoff series in any round after
losing the opener (0-12). ... Boston is 4-0 at home against Indiana
the last two years. ... After making 21 of 21 free throw attempts
in Game 1, Pierce missed his second attempt and finished 3-for-5.
... The Pacers had all five starters score in double figures five
times this season. It's happened twice in the playoffs.