RUN N RIP HAMILTON ZIPS PAST MILLER
AUBURN HILLS -- Reggie Miller runs on old and tired legs.
They've logged hundreds of miles in places like Madison Square Garden, old Chicago Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome. He has used them to chase. He has used them to run defenders off screens. And he has used those old bony legs to trip people while he is shooting three-point baskets.
These legs have carried him to All Star games, the all-time scoring list and playoff runs both long and short.
But now he is asking these legs to do the impossible just days before retirement.
He is asking these legs to keep up with Run N Rip Hamilton, the modern day Reggie Miller.
Run N Rip ran Reggie ragged by dropping a 28-point licking on the old man. The Pistons enjoyed fresh legs in their 96-71 victory over the Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals game at The Palace. The Pacers came in with tired legs, having ousted Boston just 48 hours before in the opening-round playoffs.
You knew Game 1 would be the game where the Pistons enjoyed the jump and the Pacers would play like bumps.
So now the Pacers must do two things to make this a series. Well, actually they do have a third option. They must hope the Pistons go away, but that is not likely to happen considering the Pistons are hell bent on winning a second straight NBA title.
1. The Pacers must slow Run N Rip, who curls off picks with the speed of the Tasmanian Devil. He ran Miller ragged in the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago. And he is doing it again. But this is what Run N Rip does. He runs and runs and runs some more.
And while he is running, he is shooting and scoring and making life miserable even for an old man he calls a hero and mentor.
Run N Rip is relentless. They call him Pretty Boy in the dressing room. But inside the smooth dressing player is a stone cold killer. He throws daggers all game long.
2. The Pacers must find a way to slow Ben Wallace. While Hamilton hurt the Pacers with his legs, Big Ben just shoved them aside like they were 99-pound weaklings. He recorded 21 points, 15 rebounds and embarrassed the Pacers. The guy can be pretty amazing sometimes.
Monday was one of those evenings. Wallace and his fresh legs and billowing fro was very active inside. He came out of no where to snag rebounds and block shots.
The Pacers said they must stop these two to get back in the series. But it is not that simple. Did you notice Chauncey Billups barely shot the ball? Did you notice Tayshaun Prince had a mediocre game and that Rasheed Wallace just stuck around and enjoyed the ride up close?
If the Pacers do find a way to make Run N Rip walk and force Air Ben to the ground there are at least three other guys willing to step their games up.
That is why the Pistons will win this series. They got too much jump in them. The Pacers are worn, beaten, battered, tattered and at least one of them is ready for the soap factory.
Miller must summons those legs to help him. But at this stage of his career he is giving way to the young man. He cannot keep up. But that is no shame.
Few can hang with Run N Rip.