Today in Sports History: May 2nd

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(Reggie's desperation trey. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant, Getty Images)

5/02/2002 - Nets survive Miller's prayer

Reggie Miller hit a myriad of clutch jumpers in his career, but his greatest may have come in a game that the Pacers ultimately lost.

In Game 5 of the best-of-five first round series between the No. 8 Indiana Pacers and the No. 1 New Jersey Nets, the Pacers had given the Nets a serious run for their money. But now things were looking bleak. With five seconds left, Nets forward Richard Jefferson went to the line with the team leading 96-93. Even if he somehow, improbably missed both free throws, the Pacers were out of timeouts. There was no way they could get off a quality shot.

As the crowd at the Meadowlands started to cheer, the Nets rookie started to feel the pressure. Jefferson clanged both free throws, and the ball was rebounded by Indiana. Time was running down. Point guard Kevin Ollie had just crossed halfcourt when he dished to Reggie Miller, who caught the ball with his back to the basket. In a moment of desperation, Miller fired a 39-foot fade-away over Kerry Kittles as time expired. To the amazement of everyone in the building, the shot banked in: tying the game at 96.

"That was an unbelievable shot," said Pacers coach Isiah Thomas. "He's one of the greatest clutch players I've ever seen, if not the greatest. He's right up there with (Michael) Jordan. He pushes a button and just keeps going."

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Television replays showed that Miller had actually gotten the shot off a fraction of a second late, meaning that it should have been wiped off. But instant replay had yet to be made available to NBA referees. The refs said the shot was good and the game went to overtime.

Miller, who had deferred the scoring load to Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest of late, took over in the overtime period. With less than ten seconds left, he muscled past a series of defenders and dunked it -- tying the game at 107. Miller, who was never a dunking machine, later confirmed that it was the final dunk of his NBA career.

But the Nets persevered. Matching Reggie's 31 points was Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who also had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. When it was all said and done, the Nets were still standing while the Pacers -- who lost four players during the game -- were going home. New Jersey won, 120-109, in double-overtime and advanced to the second round, where they took on the Charlotte Hornets.

New Jersey would go to the NBA Finals, where they got destroyed by the L.A. Lakers. The following season, all first round series were expanded from five games in length to seven.

(Dunk photo by Matt Kryger, Indianapolis Daily Star)

5/02/2009 - Boston finishes epic series

The Boston Celtics close out a dramatic seven game series with the Chicago Bulls, 109-99. The hero for the C's was backup point guard Eddie House, who came off the bench to make four three-pointers and 16 points overall. The win advanced the Celtics to the semifinals and ended one of the greatest series of all time.

To read more about this and every game in the Bulls-Celtics series, click here for an in-depth Inhistoric article:

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