Reggie Recalls His Eight Points in Nine Seconds

On May 7, 1995, Reggie Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to beat the New York Knicks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. For the 20th anniversary of that moment, Reggie shared his memories of the night with Pacers Director of Media Relations David Benner.

By David Benner | Pacers.com

Rik Smits hit 13 of 19 shots from the floor, scored 34 points and held All-Star Patrick Ewing to 11 points on 4 of 15 from the floor. But no one remembers. There is no 30 for 30 on 47 minutes and 51 seconds from May 7, 1995.

It was all about eight points in nine seconds that day.

"I still smile thinking about it," said the centerpiece of that tiny time frame, Reggie Miller. "To do it in New York, on that stage, against them. It was us, Indiana, vs. them, New York, small market vs. big market. That's why I smile."

It was 20 years ago in Madison Square Garden that Miller and the Indiana Pacers pulled off an improbable 107-105 victory against the New York Knicks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was, as Miller recalls, "The perfect storm. A lot of things had to happen for us to win."

Eight points. Nine seconds. That was the spotlight time in what was 18.7 seconds of chaos. The Knicks led, 105-99, the Pacers' Mark Jackson inbounding the ball. Reggie gets the pass, catches, turns and fires. Considering the moment and what would happen, an interesting moment of Karma occurs. Guarding Reggie is nemesis John Starks. Standing in front of his front row seat is a noted filmmaker and avid Knicks fan, who Miller has had, shall we say, spirited dialog. With Miller smack in the middle of his two main Garden adversaries, the ball hits the middle of the basket. 105-102, 16.4 seconds left.

Anthony Mason then tried to inbound for the Knicks (who had no time outs remaining), but Greg Anthony “slips” Reggie says with a laugh. Miller fires in front of the filmmaker again, good again. 105-105 with 13.2 left.

The Knicks inbound and Sam Mitchell surprisingly fouls Starks, a 73-percent free throw shooter. Starks misses both, Ewing tapping the rebound to himself, missing and Miller getting the rebound. And then Mason surprisingly fouls Miller with 7.5 left. Reggie hits both, 107-105, Indiana and there you have it, eight points in nine seconds.

The game, of course, is not wrapped up. Anthony drives the length of the floor, slips and falls, getting the ball to Ewing as time expires.

"It was crazy," said Miller. "Again, so many things had to happen for us to win. You assume John will go one for two at the line. I was shocked he missed both. Neither team had any time outs left, Mason taking the ball out, Greg slipping with me getting the ball and hitting the shot; Patrick getting that rebound and then taking the quick shot, that was surprising. ME getting the rebound. I wasn't known for my rebounding."

In the postgame frenzy, the celebratory Pacers headed to the locker room. At the Garden, a small tunnel leads to a hallway, visitors turn left, Knicks turn right to their respective locker rooms. The media waits behind a barricade, listening, with video recording the moments. So Reggie, in his euphoria, screams as he heads to the locker room, "THEY CHOKED, THEY CHOKED!"

So guess what the headlines were in the New York papers the next day?

"I was excited and in the moment," Reggie said. "I wasn't looking for the camera, I was just yelling." He then paused and added, "But it couldn't hurt to plant that seed, could it?"

With the sequence of events dissected, a few minutes are spent going over the box score from 20 years ago. Rik's 34 obviously pop out. "The Dutchman kept us alive that game. He was the whole cake, I was just the icing," said Reggie.

Miller, appropriately, finished with his number, 31. Derrick McKey, who with Smits had fouled out, was the only other Pacers player in double figures with 12, the Knicks had seven players in double figures. The Pacers lost Antonio Davis in the third quarter when he was ejected for his second technical foul, the Knicks saw starting point guard Derek Harper ejected that same quarter. The Knicks' bench outscored the Pacers' bench, 34-14, but the Pacers made 32 of 37 from the line, New York 19 of 28. Rebounds were practically even (42-41) as were assists (26-25) and turnovers (14-12). There were nine technical fouls (no-nonsense Joe Crawford was one of the officials and the Pacers-Knicks back then were a bit feisty). Miller was 7 for 18 from the floor, Starks 8 for 17. Read what you want into all of them but as Reggie says, "There are some crazy numbers in there."

But the craziest numbers were 8 points, 9 seconds. Twenty years later, they still give Reggie Miller, a Hall of Famer, added notoriety. "I am surprised it still comes up," he said. "What has kept it alive is the 30 for 30. Most people think it's the best one done or in the top five, so it keeps it alive for the younger generation, especially the younger generation of players.

"I get reminded of it constantly, more than I think about it. But I still smile thinking about it."