Unfortunately, the game this afternoon against the Bucks was not shown on League Pass, and I missed it. Milwaukee is playing great of late so I was pretty excited for this one, too. But it was at least nice to see that Danny got to the line 11 times (making all 11) and AJ Price took more shots (7 FGA) than he has since February 6. Looks like the 32-point fourth quarter was a nice effort as well.
But that’s the last I will discuss that game.
Because, as we all know, one more meaningless loss in an almost-entirely meaningless season is not even close to the biggest thing going on in Pacers Universe today. Nope, that would be the broadcast premiere of Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks tonight at 9:00 pm (EST) on ESPN.
By all accounts, this is one of the best films in the 30 For 30 series, and I haven’t heard a bad word about it yet. Tim went to the media premiere six weeks ago and had this to say:
By the time the documentary reaches the moment for which this site is named, even those who dislike the NBA will be pretty engaged in the drama of the rivalry.
And for those of us who feel as though we lived through those battles as soldiers in the fight rather than just passive onlookers, it provides so much more. It is both a reminder of the days when “Pacer Pride” actually meant something and a look behind the curtain. Even though the Pacers/Knicks battles of the 90s are almost part of my DNA (and I still have the scar from the headbutt Starks gave Reggie to prove it), Klores still was able to provide vignettes that were new to me.
I suggest reading the rest of Tim’s account. And he focuses on what being a Pacer fan means more so than the movie itself, so nothing will really be spoiled.
Dan Devine also has a nice break-down over on Ball Don’t Lie, which while very good to read, is a little more spoiler-y if you care about those sorts of things.
Here’s a (safe) excerpt of that:
There’s a lot of smiling in the early stages of “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks.” A curious amount, given how much vitriol coursed through the rivalry between the Knicks and Miller’s Indiana Pacers back in the mid-1990s. Frankly, it’s a bit off-putting.
See, many intense, angry, tough men played on these two basketball teams, and they did not like each other. (These men were joined by New York Knicks forward Charles Smith, who has been called “The Brick Hithouse” and is also known as “The Southern Dandy.”) They battled. They cursed and fought. They tirelessly traded hard fouls, back when hard fouls were actually hard fouls. They so, so did not like each other.
And yet there’s John Starks, smiling as he talks about his experiences with Miller’s ceaseless trash talk. There’s Patrick Ewing, smirking while recounting Miller’s flair for flopping and complaining to officials.
There’s Antonio Davis, beaming as he tells how he couldn’t wait “to go and ring this guy’s bell, ring that guy’s bell,” provided This Guy or That Guy dared to drive the lane while wearing orange and blue. There’s then-Knicks General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, laughing while recalling Starks’ suspension-inducing headbutt of Miller during Game 3 of the first round of the 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
ESPN itself has added a third good look at the film in the video below.
And they actually added an interesting segment on at the end that reveals a fact I had never known: KG’s ritual of swatting away all after-the-whistle shots to hit the rim started because of Reggie.
Garnett’s whole practice/superstition of Garnett goaltending shots after the whistle is pretty silly. I’m actually surprised I have never seen him mess it up by mishearing a whistle and giving the other team two — or even three — free points. Nonetheless, it’s an odd, trivial signature thing that some fans can enjoy in the same vein as the Dikembe finger wave. Ultimately, yeah, it’s innocuous and pointless. But it’s still sorta neat.
And, more relevant to Pacers nation, it’s just one more example of how Reggie was able to get under someone’s skin. We all know how he got to Spike and Starks and will fortunately get to watch that beautiful history re-told tonight.
But now, we see how he got to Garnett, too.
Tags: Aj Price Charles Smith Dan Klores Danny Granger Ernie Grunfeld ESPN ESPN 30 For 30 John Starks John Starks Sucks Kevin Garnett Milwaukee Bucks New York Knicks Patrick Ewing Reggie Miller Spike Lee Winning Time