INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 (Ticker) -- Jeff Foster
did a handful of little
things before Reggie Miller
made another big shot.
Miller added another clip to his postseason highlight film,
drilling a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 31 seconds left that gave
the Indiana Pacers a 78-74 victory over the Detroit Pistons in
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
NBA TV highlights from|
Reggie connects in Crunch Time:
Reggie Miller had reason to celebrate after nailing a crucial shot.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
"It was his time," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
"We've all seen it," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "He's the
best I've ever seen."
Miller's clutch shot - his only basket of
the game - was set up by a pick from Foster, a 6-11 center whose
contributions down the stretch were not as obvious but just as
Foster spent most of the contest fighting a losing battle with
and was scoreless until getting loose for a driving
layup that pulled the Pacers into a 74-74 tie with 1:23 to go.
"The series could hinge on the little things," Foster said.
"Rick talked to us about that - rebounding, getting on the floor
for loose balls. Stuff like that is what is going to win
"Foster was big for us, hitting the layup and then getting the
offensive rebound on the next play," Miller said.
On Indiana's next possession, Jermaine O'Neal
missed a jumper,
but Foster leaped to tip it back to O'Neal. The Pacers reset
their offense, and Foster set a hard screen on Richard Hamilton
that freed Miller for a 3-pointer from the right wing.
"I told Jeff, 'Just put a body on Rip (Hamilton),'" Miller said.
"I just need half a second of daylight."
"It seems the tighter it gets in the ballgame, the later it
gets, the more he focuses in," Carlisle said.
Hamilton's 3-pointer rattled in and out, but the Pistons got a
reprieve when O'Neal missed two free throws with 19 seconds
left. Chauncey Billups
and Rasheed Wallace
and Miller sealed it with a free throw.
Miller and Foster combined to make just 2-of-11 shots and score
eight points. But the top-seeded Pacers needed every one of
them to improve to 6-0 at home in the playoffs.
O'Neal had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Ron Artest
points for Indiana, which hosts Game 2 on Monday.
"They will not win Game 2," Rasheed Wallace said. "You can
quote me on the front page, on the back page, anywhere you want.
They will not win Game 2."
For most of the game, Hamilton ran Miller ragged. He scored 23
points, most of them on jumpers after losing Miller in a maze of
"It's like Mini-Me," Miller said. "I can tell that Rip has been
watching a lot of tape. He knows my Jedi mind tricks as well -
the grabbing, the holding, the stop-and-go and change of
Ben Wallace had 11 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks and five
assists. Billups scored 18 points but just one in the second
Two baskets by Hamilton and a dunk by Ben Wallace capped an 11-0
run that gave the Pistons a 64-61 lead early in the final
period. A floater and 3-pointer by Jamaal Tinsley
, who scored
13 points, and two free throws by O'Neal gave the Pacers a 72-68
advantage with 5:19 to go.
A 3-pointer by Tayshaun Prince
gave Detroit a 74-72 edge with
1:40 to play.
The first half belonged to Pacers reserve Al Harrington
Billups scored 11 points to push the Pistons to a 19-10 lead,
Harrington came on and provided energy and offense, scoring 14
points to help Indiana rally for a 48-41 halftime bulge.
"It was great to get him going early," Foster said. "We seemed
to be lax in the first half and he gave us a huge lift."
Late in the first half, Harrington took an elbow to the chest
from Corliss Williamson
and left for the locker room. He
returned in the second half but did not score.