INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- After 16 years in the NBA, Reggie Miller is
still unmatched in coming off screens for big 3-point shots.
Miller scored 26 points and hit seven 3-pointers Friday night,
two in the final minute of overtime, to lift the Eastern
Conference-leading Indiana Pacers over the Atlanta Hawks 98-97.
"The basketball court is a pretty big place, so a lot of times
defenders don't know when a lot of screens are coming,'' he said.
"I have the luxury of playing with some very talented big guys in
Jermaine (O'Neal) and Brad (Miller) who set really good screens,
and that's probably the biggest reason why I get so wide open.''
Miller passed Adrian Dantley for 16th place on the NBA scoring
list, and his final basket, with 10 seconds to go, pushed his
career total to 23,184 points. He already has an NBA-record 2,296
"When needed, they always call my number, and I'm just glad I
still have the grace to come through when they need me,'' the
37-year-old Miller said.
He needs 154 points to move ahead of Robert Parrish into 15th
place on the scoring list.
"That's why you love him. He's been making those shots forever,
way before I got here,'' said Brad Miller, who had 17 points and 14
rebounds for the Pacers. "You think of Reggie Miller ... you think
of big shots. He keeps delivering.
"We were just trying to get him a good pick and get him as open
as he can get, when everybody in the arena and on that team knows
who it's going to.''
The Pacers blew a 20-point lead in the third quarter and fell
behind 93-92 on a basket by Jason Terry with less than two minutes
to go in the extra period. The Hawks had a chance to increase the
lead after a foul by Reggie Miller, but Shareef Abdur-Raheem missed
a shot and Indiana's Ron Artest got the rebound.
Miller's 3-pointer with 55 seconds left put the Pacers back on
top 95-93, but a 3-pointer by Terry and free throw by Dion Glover
with 16 seconds to go gave Atlanta its final lead at 97-95. Glover
missed his second foul attempt, however, and O'Neal got the rebound
for the Pacers.
After a timeout, Miller hit the go-ahead 3-pointer and O'Neal
blocked a final shot by Terry just before the buzzer.
"We just have to keep fighting,'' Terry said. "We were
definitely in a position to win the game, but they proved why they
are the toughest team in the Eastern Conference. They're just
O'Neal finished with 16 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.
Abdur-Rahim and Glenn Robinson led Atlanta with 21 points each.
Terry had 18 points and Theo Ratliff added 16 points, 14 rebounds
and nine blocked shots.
"We do good things, but loose balls and rebounds bit us again.
It's very frustrating,'' Atlanta coach Terry Stotts said.
"Our defensive effort in the second half was terrific. ...
Reggie hits a huge shot to win the game. All I can say is that he
is a hell of a player.''
Miller scored 14 points during a four-minute, second-quarter
flurry that seemed to put the Pacers in control after Atlanta's
early nine-point lead.
The Hawks still led by three midway through the second period
before a rebound tip by O'Neal and Miller's first basket started a
19-0 Indiana run. Miller had three straight 3-pointers during that
streak, and Indiana opened a 52-36 lead before Robinson ended the
spurt with a free throw on a technical foul against the Pacers.
The Pacers led 55-44 at halftime and scored the first nine
points of the third quarter, including another 3-pointer by Miller,
for a 64-44 lead. Abdur-Rahim, who had just five points in the
first half, led the comeback as Atlanta pulled to 72-63 going into
A basket by Robinson pulled Atlanta to 80-79 with four minutes
left, then a 3-pointer by Terry put the Hawks ahead. There were two
more lead changes before a basket by Abdur-Rahim with 40 seconds
left tied the game at 87 and sent it to overtime.
Indiana is 2-0 against the Hawks this season. They will
play again Sunday in Atlanta. ... IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher was
color commentator on the Pacers radio network, subbing for ailing
regular Bob Leonard. Drivers A.J. Foyt IV and Tomas Scheckter
signed autographs in the lobby before the game. ... O'Neal's four
blocked shots made him the fifth Pacer with 500 career blocks.
Ratliff blocked seven shots in his last game at Toronto. ...
Robinson was Indiana high school Mr. Basketball in 1991, when his
Gary Roosevelt team beat Alan Henderson's Indianapolis Brebeuf team
in the state championship game. ... Atlanta is 1-18 when trailing
after three quarters. ... Robinson needs 11 points for 13,000 in