More Miller Milestones

by Conrad Brunner

INDIANAPOLIS, March 19, 2001 -- When it comes to shooting jump shots, you'd think Reggie Miller would be past the need for advice.

But long-time Pacers radio analyst Bobby ''Slick'' Leonard had a tip for the legendary scorer during Sunday's game against Sacramento. Leonard noticed Miller was shooting relatively flat-footed, and during a break in the action told the player to get his legs more involved in the shot.

''I started using my legs more and setting up my shots better in the second half,'' Miller said, ''and that really helped me.''

Miller elevated, all right.

His first basket of the second half gave him 21,000 career points. Less than a minute later, his next made him the first player in NBA history to make 2,000 three-point field goals.

But his best work, typically, came in the fourth quarter, when he scored 12 of his 24 points to help the Pacers hold off a Kings rally for a 101-95 victory.

''I'm more happy about getting the win than setting the records,'' Miller said. ''The crowd has always been faithful and supportive of me and they really gave us life tonight. When you look at the pioneers that have paved the way for players like myself, sometimes, you just sit back and scratch your head. I'm very thankful and very blessed to have the opportunity to play this game."

Miller trails Hal Greer (21,586) by 570 points, so he'll probably have to wait until next year to move into the top 20 on the career scoring list. Greer, Clyde Drexler, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan are the only guards with more career points.

''He's so unbelievable and he's so marvelous at what he does, and he's done it for so long that you just take it for granted,'' said Pacers coach Isiah Thomas. ''There have been a lot of great players and a lot of great shooters in this league, and none of them have accomplished what he just did.
''He's perfect. For the skills that he has, he's about as perfect a basketball player as he can be with the talent he possesses. He always does the right thing out on the floor. He's been taught well how to play. He's great for our team.''

In the fourth quarter, Miller converted another of his specialties - a four-point play, to give the Pacers an 87-75 lead with 6:14 remaining. The league's all-time leader in that category, he had 17 entering the season.

He added another three-pointer to put the Pacers up 96-86 with 2:01 left, when made five free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the verdict after the Kings cut the lead to three.

''Nobody's surprised in this locker room,'' said Jermaine O'Neal. ''That's Reggie Miller. That's what he does, and what he's been doing for so many years. I'm very excited for him, very happy for him, but I don't think there's anybody in this locker room who's surprised that he accomplished what he accomplished tonight.''