Full disclosure: as a Knicks fan, this was one of the formative moments of my childhood. After a brief hiatus, the Knicks and Pacers were back at it again, with another trip to the Finals on the line. The series had it all: Patrick Ewing making one last run at a ring, Reggie Miller returning to the Garden, Spike Lee doing, well, what Spike Lee does.
After the Knicks stole Game 1 in Indianapolis, the Pacers looked to return the favor in the Garden in Game 3. It was a classic Knicks-Pacers slugfest, Indiana making just enough plays to keep New York at arm's length. The Knicks found themselves down three with one last chance to tie it up, and a fan favorite would come up with a miracle.
The play really almost never happened—the Knicks struggled simply to get the ball inbounds, and the pass to Larry Johnson was tipped and almost stolen. Once LJ gathered, he dribbled, pumped, drew a foul and put up a desperation three that found bottom as the Garden absolutely exploded (I could watch the overhead shot when the ball goes in for hours on end). After Chris Childs reminded Johnson that, hey, he still had to knock down the free throw, he stepped up and coolly sank it to give New York the win and the series lead.
Pacer fans were livid, convinced that Antonio Davis had fouled Johnson before he went up for the shot—and, if I'm being honest, they have a point, but they should take all the calls Reggie Miller got in his career and consider themselves lucky.