“Reggie Miller, standing behind the arc, would not let the season expire for the Indiana Pacers.
He squared, fired and flapped those arms some more. The range. The form. The rhythm. It was all there for Miller, whose shots splashed repeatedly into the nylon.
All net. Almost even.”
The words above, written by Mike Wise, were published in the New York Times on June 17, 2000, the day after the Indiana Pacers absolutely decimated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the 2000 NBA Finals. Wise hit the nail on the head: Miller was absolutely unstoppable that game.
The series had been going poorly for the Pacers and prior to the series, many analysts predicted a sweep. Going into Game 5, the series was 3-1 in the Lakers’ favor. The Pacers had to bring fire in Game 5 and they absolutely did; they dominated Game 5 the moment both teams stepped out on the hardwood.
After scoring 35 points in Game 4 (watch that below), Reggie Miller stepped onto the court, in an all black iteration of the Air Jordan XV, and in a flurry sunk five straight shots including a remarkable four point play. Jalen Rose grabbed the ball after Shaq lost the handle and it ended up in Miller’s hands. Of course, he sunk the three and drew the foul. Check it out below. The sportscasting is in Spanish and it’s so much more exciting.
The Pacers made 15 of their first 20 shots and led 39-28 after the first quarter. At the end of the second quarter the Pacers led by almost 20 points, 64-45. Miller and Rose shot an unbelievable 8 of 10 from behind the 3-point line in the first half. The final score for Game 5 was 120-87, Pacers. It was the worst Lakers Finals loss since the Memorial Day Massacre of ’85. Game 5 was the last game that Larry Bird coached in Indiana and the Pacers would go on to lose the 2000 NBA Finals against the Lakers 4-2.
However, after scoring 25 points and sinking 4 of 6 3-pointers, Reggie Miller had this to say about the game: ”We absolutely, positively have nothing to lose…We don’t care. We’re coming out loose. There’s no pressure on us. The pressure, from the get-go, was on them. They were supposed to sweep us, right?”