Miller Makes First Return Appearance

by Conrad Brunner

March 18, 2004

Brad Miller will be making his first visit Friday night to Conseco Fieldhouse since the three-team trade that sent him from the Pacers to the Kings on July 24, 2003. He’s had a triumphant season in Sacramento, averaging 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists while earning his second consecutive All-Star berth.

“Brad’s obviously a terrific player,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “He’s a two-time All-Star. His All-Star berth last year certainly wasn’t a fluke by any stretch. I voted for him, so I have great respect for his game. He’s the enemy now and it makes it tougher to play a team that has a guy like him, but we are who we are and we’ve got to play our game. That’s going to give us the best chance to win.”

The key acquisition for the Pacers in the deal was Pollard, who has played a smaller role than anticipated. He’s averaging 1.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 50 games, including three starts.

“Pollard has been an important player for us this year,” said Carlisle. “Even though he hasn’t played huge minutes, in a lot of games he’s stepped in and made a difference for us either has a defensive guy guarding one of the top post players like a Duncan or guys like that. Or, he’s been a guy that’s just given us solid minutes. He’s been a consummate pro in the locker room and he’s added a lot to our team in a lot of ways that don’t have any relation to hard stats. Pollard has done a solid job for us and we’re definitely going to need him down the stretch.”

The coaching staff has sought ought Pollard’s knowledge of the Kings in preparation for the game.

“I’ve offered some suggestions but I’m not much of a guy that talks about plays and the Kings don’t run a lot of plays,” Pollard said. “They run sets that get them into spots, then they do a lot of reads from certain situations. They try to take advantage of individual lapses on defense. So it’s hard to scout a team like that, that doesn’t have a set way of doing things every single time. They tend to read situations and play off of each other.”

Pollard would like nothing more than for this game to mark a return to a more prominent spot in the rotation.

“I would love to get out there and play,” he said.