Work in Sports
Miller, Rose downplay 40-point efforts
Posted: Monday May 08, 2000 12:53 PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Reggie Miller insists he's retiring his Superman shirt.
And Jalen Rose insists the sight of Larry Brown on the Philadelphia bench isn't providing motivation in the second-round series between the Indiana Pacers and the 76ers.
The two combined to lead Indiana's best playoff effort this year, scoring 40 points apiece as the Pacers defeated Philadelphia 108-91 on Saturday in Game 1. The best-of-seven series resumes Monday night in Indianapolis.
Miller wore the Superman shirt during warmups before Games 3 and 5 against Milwaukee, scoring 34 points as Indiana won the third game in the best-of-five opening-round series and an NBA franchise-record 41 in Thursday's 96-95 victory in Game 5.
"Superman's retired," Miller said after Saturday's game. "I'm not going to bring Superman out no more. I know I'm setting myself up. If I wear it and we lose, I can see the headlines."
But, the fans may not let it die. Several Superman T-shirts were worn by fans inside Conseco Fieldhouse. Late in the game, a picture of Superman with Miller's head superimposed on it flashed on the scoreboard screen. When teammates pointed it out to Miller, he smiled and buried his head in a towel.
"I see all the shirts and the signs and the banners, that's motivating to me," Miller said. "I don't have to wear the shirt. When our fans identify with something, they jump on it, I love that. ...But I don't see myself bringing out the shirt again."
Miller might have topped the franchise playoff record for a second consecutive game Saturday after a wild moment when Allen Iverson picked up two technicals and Brown got one, creating an opportunity for Miller to take five consecutive free throws. However, he and coach Larry Bird decided to have Rose shoot the technicals and he hit all three before Miller sank his two attempts for the personal foul.
"I'm not greedy," Miller said. "I'd just gotten fouled pretty hard. My finger was still kind of stinging. You've got another shooter, so I decided to let Jalen. ...He earned those."
Rose had missed two free throws in the closing seconds of the final game with Milwaukee, allowing it to come down to a final shot that would have sent the Bucks into the conference semifinals.
"They wouldn't let me live that down until I went a game without missing one," said Rose, who was 5-for-5 at the stripe Saturday.
The three free throws by Rose allowed him and Miller to become the first players in franchise history to score 40 points in the same game. They are only the fourth in league history to do it in a playoff game and the first since Houston's Clyde Drexler (41) and Hakeem Olajuwon (40) did it against Utah on May 5, 1995.
Rose, who sat on the bench as an unhappy reserve in Brown's final year coaching Indiana, said that frustrating year wasn't on his mind when he scored his career-high Saturday.
"I don't think about who is on the other team's bench," Rose said. "Obviously that burns inside me. I'd be lying to say it doesn't.
"But you've got to be a man and move on. We all have stumbling blocks in life and you've got to continue to grow and prosper."
Despite the victory, Miller was cautious in discussing a possible sweep against Philadelphia in the second round for a second consecutive year.
"Winning by 17 points kind of scares me," Miller said. "I know Larry Brown and how he coaches. They're going to come out ready in Game 2 ... Philly came here to win one game and we still have to protect home court."