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1999 NBA Playoffs

Miller's crossing

Pacers' guard hungry to torment Knicks yet again

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Posted: Friday May 28, 1999 10:00 PM

  Trash Talkin': The Pacers' series with the Knicks may not have the usual verbal wars involving Reggie Miller. AP

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Reggie Miller knows what matters -- his shooting eye, not his mouth. So the trash talk is in short supply.

"I don't know if I've held my tongue," Miller said. "We know that they want us. We know that we want them. What more needs to be said? Both teams respect each other."

The Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks go at it again Sunday, the fifth time in seven years they have met in the playoffs.

This time it's the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 is at Market Square Arena, where the Pacers have won 12 consecutive playoff games. The streak includes three victories in last year's conference semifinals when Indiana ousted the Knicks 4-1.

Miller has tormented the Knicks through the years. In one such performance in 1994 he scored 39 points. A year later, he scored eight points during the closing 16 seconds of an Indiana victory at Madison Square Garden.

This year, Indiana won the season series 2-1.

"In the three games we played them, Reggie Miller wasn't really a factor," Knicks forward Marcus Camby said. "It was other guys around him who played extremely well."

Miller is second to San Antonio's Tim Duncan in scoring among those still in the playoffs. He's averaged 23.7 points as Indiana swept Milwaukee and Philadelphia to move into the conference finals. The Pacers are the only unbeaten team in the playoffs.

Knicks guard Allan Houston points to Miller's ability to get to the foul line, where he led the league with a 91.5 mark this season.

"He's very good at (drawing contact)," Houston said. "Since he has a reputation for that, he gets calls for it."

Houston said some of the calls are made by officials fooled by Miller's flopping to the court without contact.

"If you can get away with it, why not?" Houston said.

Told about the remarks, Miller smiled.

"I'm older than those two guys. I'm supposed to get the calls," he said. "All I know is we beat them two out of three times. And if I remember right, Camby didn't play in two of those games, so how is he going to talk?"

Miller and his teammates haven't played since sweeping Philadelphia on Sunday. They've had four days of practice, and coach Larry Bird decided to break the routine with a public scrimmage Friday night.

"It's a little different. You have to adjust," Bird said. "Through the season we were complaining about playing nearly every night and now we're complaining about sitting around.

"At least we've got some time to work on some things and hopefully keep our concentration for Sunday."

Bird thought the scrimmage would give his players an opportunity to perform before fans again.

"It's always good to get the fans in here, get the players riled up. You can always take your game to the next level when fans are in here yelling and screaming," Bird said. "We're doing it so Sunday when we come out we won't have a lot of rust on us. I think that will help us."

Bird recalled that when he played for the Boston Celtics he sometimes had big breaks during the playoffs.

"It's really hard to gear back up for the game," he said. "In practice, you have good intensity for the first 45 minutes, and then it starts going downhill. It's hard to keep it up over a long period of time.

"Hopefully, in the scrimmage we can come out and play hard and get ourselves prepared for Sunday."

 
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