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Miller 3-pointer puts Pacers over Pistons
Updated: 2004-05-23 12:50

Reggie Miller's one and only basket of the game came when the Indiana Pacers needed it most.

After missing his first six shots, Miller drilled a 3-pointer with 31.7 seconds left. The shot broke the game's final tie and led Indiana past Detroit 78-74 Saturday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal (left) celebrates with guard Reggie Miller after Miller hit a three-point shot with 31.7 seconds remaining in the game to give the Pacers a 77-74 lead over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Conference Championship series in Indianapolis Saturday night May 22, 2004. The Pacers defeated the Pistons, 78-74. [AP]

With the score tied at 74, Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal missed a difficult turnaround jumper from the left baseline. Jeff Foster tipped the rebound to a teammate, and the Pacers had another chance.

Miller popped free off a screen set by Foster, took a pass from Jamaal Tinsley and buried his 3 to make it 77-74.

"All I need is to have a half-second of daylight," Miller said.

Hamilton missed a 3-pointer for Detroit and O'Neal was fouled on the rebound with 19.8 seconds left, but he missed both foul shots to give the Pistons another chance. But Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace missed 3-point attempts, and Miller made the second of two free throws with 6.6 seconds left to seal Indiana's 14th consecutive home victory.

Game 2 is Monday night.

Miller helped the Pacers overcome a fourth-quarter offensive drought in which they were held scoreless for a stretch of nearly four minutes by Detroit's intense defense.

O'Neal led Indiana with 21 points and 14 rebounds, Ron Artest scored 17, Al Harrington had 14 and Tinsley 13.

Hamilton scored 23, Billups had 18 and Ben Wallace added 11 points and 22 rebounds for the Pistons, who got little (four points, five fouls, three turnovers) from Rasheed Wallace.

Indiana won despite being held to 13 points in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth.

The Pacers were ahead 48-41 at halftime behind 14 points from Harrington and 13 from O'Neal. Billups and Hamilton accounted for 10 of Detroit's 17 first-half field goals, with Rasheed Wallace going just 1-for-2 and grabbing only one rebound.

Rasheed Wallace increased his foul and turnover totals in the third quarter without scoring a single point, but Detroit was able to reduce its deficit from seven to three over the course of the period despite getting just one basket from anyone other than Hamilton or Billups.

Hamilton scored the first four points of the fourth quarter as part of an 11-0 run that gave the Pistons a 64-61 lead. Indiana responded with an 11-4 run, including six points from O'Neal, to go ahead 72-68 with 5:19 left, but the Pacers then went nearly four minutes without a point.

Detroit blocked seven shots in the first quarter and made 63 percent of its attempts to open an early nine-point lead, forcing Indiana to miss 16 of 19 shots over one stretch.

But after Harrington entered the game and immediately began scoring over Corliss Williamson, the Pacers began to show some life. Harrington's left-handed hook shot after a blown dunk by Ben Wallace completed a 15-4 run and gave Indiana a 41-35 lead.

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