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Unclebuck
05-04-2004, 11:59 AM
http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question_040504.html


What are Greatest Moments in Playoff History?


Tuesday, May 4, 2004


QUESTION
OF THE DAY

Conrad Brunner


Q. What are the top five playoff performances by the Pacers in the past 15 years? This can either be an individual performance or a team performance. I have my top five, I would like to get an insider’s top five! (From Travis in Lapel, IN)

A. I’ll have to separate the team and individual performances into separate categories, because it’s an apples and oranges list. I preface my selections by admitting that, because it’s my personal list, I freely will allow sentimentality to override cold, hard logic in some cases. I also will not restrict the list to the last 15 years, but rather to the franchise’s NBA history. Here goes:


Top Team Performances

1. Reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 1994. Before the 1993-94 season, the Pacers were 0-6 in NBA playoff series and 4-17 in NBA playoff games. But the franchise’s fortunes turned in Larry Brown’s first season as head coach. Not only did they win the Pacers’ first NBA playoff series (sweeping Orlando), they reached the seventh game of the conference finals against the Knicks, who won 57 games during the regular season. Without this breakthrough, who knows what would’ve followed?

2. Pushing the mighty Bulls to seven games in the 1998 conference finals. No team pushed Chicago closer to the brink during the Michael Jordan dynasty than the Pacers in this epic seven-game series. Keep in mind, this was Larry Bird’s first season as a head coach, and followed a tumultuous 1996-97 season that brought an end to the Larry Brown era and the only non-playoff finish in the last 15 years.

3. Breaking through to the NBA Finals in 2000. I’m sure most people would put this No. 1 on the list, and it’d be difficult for me to argue. It was an incredible moment.

4. Every series in which the Pacers beat the Knicks. No further comment necessary.

5. Pushing Boston to Game 5 in the first round of the 1991 playoffs. The big breakthrough almost happened here, against Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Had Chuck Person made one more 3-pointer in that final game, he just might’ve become bigger than Reggie Miller.



Top Individual Performances

1. The Breakthrough. Byron Scott’s game-winning 3-pointer in Game 1 against Orlando in 1994. The biggest shot in the franchise’s NBA history then, and now, because it showed the way.

2. Slaying Goliath. Reggie Miller’s game-winning 3-pointer over Michael Jordan in Game 4 of the 1998 conference finals. Most of Miller’s playoff heroics have been performed on the road. Not this one, and it was the most electrifying because of the context.

3. The Memorial Day Miracle. In my humble opinion, the greatest 13 seconds in the history of playoff basketball. Brian Shaw, Miller and Penny Hardaway traded 3-pointers, leaving the Pacers in a 93-92 hole with 1.3 seconds left, but Rik Smits shot-faked Tree Rollins into the air and hit the game-winner at the buzzer in Game 4 of the conference finals.

4. Garden Party I. Miller’s 25-point fourth quarter gave the Pacers a 93-86 victory over the Knicks and a 3-2 lead in their first-ever trip to the conference finals in 1994.

5. Garden Party II. New York fans will never forget Miller’s outburst of eight points in the final 8.9 seconds to wipe out a six-point deficit and give the Pacers a 107-105 win in Game 1 of the second round in 1995.

Kegboy
05-04-2004, 02:10 PM
3. The Memorial Day Miracle. In my humble opinion, the greatest 13 seconds in the history of playoff basketball. Brian Shaw, Miller and Penny Hardaway traded 3-pointers, leaving the Pacers in a 93-92 hole with 1.3 seconds left, but Rik Smits shot-faked Tree Rollins into the air and hit the game-winner at the buzzer in Game 4 of the conference finals.


Terribly underrated. This should be shown at least once every playoff season. Shaw had a hell of a game, iirc.

Millerartest
05-04-2004, 06:31 PM
Thanx for the memories.

You know I remember having to miss a Pacer/Boston playoff game on the road that year, expecting a typical Pacers first round defeat, and was absolutely stunned to hear that Chuck Person scored 52 points and the Pacers won in Boston Garden. You didn't win in Boston Garden those days in the playoffs, just like you didn't win in New York.

Excellent list.

BigMac
05-04-2004, 06:48 PM
3. The Memorial Day Miracle. In my humble opinion, the greatest 13 seconds in the history of playoff basketball. Brian Shaw, Miller and Penny Hardaway traded 3-pointers, leaving the Pacers in a 93-92 hole with 1.3 seconds left, but Rik Smits shot-faked Tree Rollins into the air and hit the game-winner at the buzzer in Game 4 of the conference finals.


Terribly underrated. This should be shown at least once every playoff season. Shaw had a hell of a game, iirc.

I think ESPN Classic formerly known as Classic Sports Network actually shows that game every year. I'll keep an eye out for it for when it is to come on.