What's On Tap
Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
What to Watch
He started out as an annoyance, Reggie Miller did, with his bony elbows and knees, trash talk and habit of hitting game-winning shots.
And 17 seasons later, Miller still looks like a gangly kid, still talks trash, and on Saturday he made a three with a little more than 30 seconds remaining to send the Pacers' to a 78-74 victory over the Detroit Pistons in the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals.
What many Miller-haters may not know is that his longevity and confidence are both forged from knowing that few of his peers work as hard to improve their games.
Indiana guard Fred Jones, in his second NBA season, advises younger players to "try and emulate everything [Miller] does," Jones told The Indianapolis Star.
Before a February game against the Washington Wizards, Miller was on the court at MCI arena long before anyone else. His only companion was a ball boy entrusted to rebound his shots and feed him the ball. Shot after shot, the thwacking sound of the ball echoes in the vast hall.
A half hour passed and one of the Pacers' assistant coaches joined in to act as a defender by standing in front of Miller with his hands raised. He practices a fake that he uses often during games. Miller steps toward the coach and steps back to shoot his three, again and again. Reggie repeats the same motion for 20 minutes.
Then his teammates begin to trickle into the arena. He's all done. He heads to the locker room to watch video.
Prior to most NBA games, videotape machines are often running with little or no audience. But on that night, Miller sat close to the screen, a scouting report in his right hand, a remote control in his left. He scans for vulnerabilities in his opponent's game.
Just before the game, he threw on his headphones and meditates. He rarely spoke.
Miller scored a team-high 24 points on 7-for-16 shooting in a victory over the Wizards that night. He has made 2,464 three-point shots during his career.
This Weekend's Big Winner (Team)
Minnesota Timberwolves. They slowed the Lakers' juggernaut in Game 2 with 89-71 victory at home and got a kick start from their bench, which outscored Los Angeles' reserves 41-14.
This Weekend's Big Loser (Team)
Detroit Pistons. The much heralded defense can't defend 38-year-old Miller on the key sequence late in the game. Miller was without a field goal when he hit the three-point shot that sealed the Pacers victory.
This Weekend's Big Winner (Player).
Wally Szczerbiak. Szczerbiak, back from a back injury, picks up the scoring slack for Sam Cassell, whose own back tightened up in the first minute of Game 2, and scores 16 points in win over Lakers.
This Weekend's Big Loser (Player)
Rasheed Wallace. Is held to 4 points, 7 rebounds, and three turnovers in Pistons in loss to Pacers. He then guarantees a win tonight.