Work in Sports
Pacers guard at his best with game on line
Posted: Friday May 05, 2000 12:13 AM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Superman had some help.
Reggie Miller had 41 points, but some big rebounds by Dale Davis and an even bigger 3-pointer by Travis Best with 16 seconds to go Thursday night gave the Indiana Pacers a 96-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and moved them on to the second round of the playoffs.
"What can I say? I was missing shots all night," Best said. "I was feeling good offensively, as funny as it may seem. That last shot, I was just really surprised I was as wide open as I was. I just looked at the basket and let it go. It felt good and I was happy it went through."
Best finished 3-for-15 from the field and missed his first four 3-point attempts before hitting the game-winner.
"I was just trying to get going offensively. I just wanted to stay aggressive," he said. "(Coach) Larry (Bird) told me to keep shooting the ball. He felt like I was going to come through, and I felt like the next shot would go down each time I took it."
A basket by Tim Thomas with 50 seconds to go gave the Bucks their last lead at 94-93. Best then missed two shots, but the Pacers kept possession both times with rebounds by Davis, who had 12 for the game. After Best's 3-pointer, Ervin Johnson hit one of two free throws for Milwaukee, then after Indiana's Jalen Rose missed two free throws with 1.4 seconds left, Ray Allen missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
"We ran a couple guys off screens and we missed a shot and I was able to get pretty good position," Davis said of the rebound that kept the ball alive for Best's game-winner. "I kicked it out to Reggie and we moved it around and hit the open man.
"But it was a team effort. Everybody out there made big plays."
Miller, who donned a blue Superman shirt for halftime warmups, scored 18 of his playoff career-high 41 points in the final quarter.
"We never got control of the game but we stopped them when we had to," Miller said.
"The bounces definitely went our way. Tonight we proved in a deciding game how much the home court advantage means," Miller said. "Our fans really came through. That's what we're going to need in the Philly series."
The victory in the fifth and deciding game sent Indiana into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the 76ers, starting Saturday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
"Milwaukee played terrific and made it real tough on us," said Best, who finished with eight points in 31 minutes. "Everyone is just relieved. It was a tough series. It was an aggressive series. You just don't say anything. You give a sigh of relief."