NEW YORK – The cast of characters from one of the iconic moments in NBA Playoff history were assembled some 18 years later in the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”
Granted only Spike Lee was similarly dressed as he was 18 years ago to the day on Tuesday, wearing his Knicks Orange and Blue as he took his customary seat courtside before the Pacers and Knicks second game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Reggie Miller and John Starks, meanwhile, were in full suits unlike their actions on May 7, 1995 in Game One of that year’s conference semis, where 8.9 seconds were all the Pacers’ star guard needed to make NBA history.
With 17 seconds to go and the Pacers down six Miller hit a three pointer, then stole the inbounds pass from Anthony Mason, stepped back behind the three-point line and hit another three to tie the game. A quick foul by the Pacers put Starks to the line, but he missed both free throws and the Knicks fouled Miller going for the rebound.
The guard calmly sank two free throws to give the Pacers the lead and a defensive stop on the other end sealed an improbable 107-105 victory by the Pacers, who eventually beat the Knicks in seven games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
On Tuesday the cast of characters from that game enjoyed some friendly exchanges on the court before the game. Miller and Starks had a pre-game hug as the former Pacers guard came on the floor to begin his analyst duties for TNT. Ten minutes later, Miller found his way to Lee who questioned Miller about a tweet sent earlier in the day regarding the Pacers guard’s “Choke” sign he signaled to Lee back in the 2004 playoffs.
The good-natured discussions ended with a hug as each returned to their places for the next chapter in Pacers-Knicks history that will unfold on Tuesday night.