You Can Never Write Off Reggie Miller

Editor's Note: Pacers Senior Vice President Bill Benner was a columnist for the Indianapolis Star when Reggie Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to beat the New York Knicks on May 7, 1995. For the 20th anniversary of that moment, Benner shares his memories from the night.

With 18 seconds remaining in Game One of the Indiana Pacers' 1995 Eastern Conference semifinal series against the evil New York Knicks, I already was thinking ahead.

Thinking ahead to the column I would write for The Indianapolis Star about the Pacers not really being ready for the intensity of this series tone-setting engagement. Thinking ahead about how I would characterize some of their lackluster play. Thinking ahead to describing how they wasted a magnificent 34-point effort from center Rik Smits.

And, yes, thinking ahead to taking a couple of journalistic shots at none other than Reggie Miller who, at that point, had missed 11 of 16 shots and failed to ruin the Garden party or wipe the smirk from Spike Lee's mug.

Many in the Garden were also thinking ahead because the arena was quickly emptying. It was time to beat the crowd and get a head start out into that sunny, spring Sunday afternoon, secure in the knowledge the Knicks had taken the upper hand against the Hicks.

And on their way out they were surely thinking, "Take that, Reggie!"

I was sitting in my courtside media seat, baseline right, a few feet from the Indiana bench. Coach Larry Brown was looking glum, because the outcome seemed inevitable and no amount of coaching genius could save it.

"Realistically," he said later, "I thought we had no chance."

Neither did general manager Donnie Walsh, who was nowhere to be seen because he'd seen enough.

Then it happened.

All Reggie broke loose.

At 16.4 seconds, Miller drains a 3-pointer. Anthony Mason collects the ball and lofts an inbounds pass. Reggie clears some space – OK, he pushes off one of the Knicks – gathers the ball, spies the 3-point line, steps behind it and lofts another 3-pointer right in front of Spike Lee. Swish. Game tied justlikethat.

I later wrote in my column that you could hear Slick Leonard's "Boom Baby" from the Garden all the way to Terre Haute.

The Knicks inbound again and John Starks is fouled immediately. Ah, yes, Mr. Head-Butt from the year before. The Knicks were in disbelief and Starks, though a 74-percent free throw shooter on the season, wore a stunned look as he toed the stripe. He missed the first. And the second. Patrick Ewing rebounds and has a point-blank 10-footer. Miss again.

And who gets the rebound? Yes, the spindly one, Reggie. Mason fouls him. Reggie marches to the other end with that no-doubt-about-it look on his face. He makes both. That's eight points in 8.9 seconds. The Knicks' Mason falls down on their last possession and that was it. Ball game.

Reggie has a beauty of a postgame quote: "It's like they say … if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere."

Of course, there still was work to do. And the Pacers eventually completed the task of winning the series and moving on to face Orlando.

But this was for the time capsule … an 8.9 seconds time capsule.

I gathered my notes as Reggie and the fellas danced off the floor. As soon as they departed, there was dead silence.

Then it was time to go to work, and write the column that I hadn't remotely considered just a few minutes earlier.