One player who still hurts from being eliminated in the playoffs by Jordan and the Bulls is Hall of Fame player Reggie Miller.
The 1997-98 Indiana Pacers
Reggie Miller was a part of some successful teams in Indiana, even though he did not win an NBA title. During the 1997-98 season, the Pacers were one of the best teams in the league. That season the team finished with a 58-24 record and finished second in the Central Division, behind the Bulls.
This team had youth and veteran leadership and was coached by a former NBA player who won multiple titles in Larry Bird. Bird won Coach of the Year that season and the Pacers were poised to make a deep run in the postseason. Miller led the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
When the playoffs came, the Pacers faced no issues getting past the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks in the first two rounds. Then came the matchup in the Conference Finals against the Bulls who were looking to win their third straight title. The only thing standing in their way was the Pacers.
1998 Eastern Conference Finals
The Eastern Conference Finals between the Pacers and Bulls could have been an NBA Finals matchup. That’s how good it was. It took all seven games to decide a winner, and in the end, the Bulls came out on top.
Michael Jordan led was the leading scoring throughout the series, and even though the Pacers could not find ways to stop him, they still were in a good position to win the series. In Game 6, the Pacers needed a win to force a Game 7, and even though Jordan finished with 35 points, Indiana came out with a 92-89 win.
Indiana went into Game 7 with a lot of momentum and believed they had a chance to end the Bulls’ dynasty. Going into the fourth quarter of Game 7, the Pacers trailed the Bulls 69-65. They were still a chance for Miller to carry his team to the finals. But things did not work out in their favor. The Bulls would go on to defeat the Pacers 88-83 and win their third straight NBA championship.
Reggie Miller still hurt over that series
In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Miller talked about how he believed that his team had a good shot of making it to the 1998 NBA Finals. “I respect the heck out of that dude,” Miller said about Jordan.
Miller said he felt that they were the better team. Miller would eventually make it to the Finals in 2000 with the Pacers. They ended up losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. But that loss that Miller took to the Bulls during the Conference Finals was a tough pill for him to swallow. Watching that interview, it’s obvious he still thinks about it from time to time.