Offense or defense doesn't make any difference to Reggie Miller when it produces a victory.
Miller had 15 points, including two free throws with 14.4 seconds left, but it was his defense in the final seconds which salvaged Indiana's 94-93 victory Monday over the Dallas Mavericks.
"The latter part of my career, I'm probably getting them more (big plays) at the defensive end because everyone is so surprised at it," said Miller, who got the opportunity for the winning free throws when he deflected an inbounds pass off Michael Finley with 21.9 seconds to go.
"It was a game that we really had no business winning, but I'd rather win ugly then lose pretty," Miller said.
Finley took an inbounds pass with 8.7 seconds remaining and was forced to throw up a desperation shot at the buzzer which bounced off the front of the rim.
"I was going to attack him, instead of letting him attack me," Miller said. "I wanted him to make a decision, make him make the moves. He was looking at me kind of wild.
"I made him go side-to-side, made him turn his back a couple of times, take time off the clock and he had to make a tough shot."
"That's the way coach drew it up, I didn't come through," said Finley, who had 22 points for Dallas.
Jalen Rose scored 28 points for Indiana as the Pacers recorded their 20th consecutive home victory.
After deflecting the inbounds pass off Finley, Miller drove toward the basket and was fouled by Greg Buckner. The league's second leading free throw shooter made both free throws, but Dallas wasn't finished.
Indiana had a foul to give and Miller used it as Finley was about to attempa shot with 8.7 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, Cedric Ceballos inbounded the ball to Finley.
"I had a great time today. It's just a little sad to see the young guys take a hit like that today. You've got to learn from your mistakes," Rodman said.
Nowitzki hit two 3-pointers in succession to put Dallas ahead 93-89 in the final minute. Travis Best, who came off the bench to contribute 13 points, followed with a 3-pointer for Indiana with 23.4 seconds left to set the stage for Miller's defensive heroics and go-ahead free throws.
Best's 3-pointer gave him nine in the final period.
"I felt I could take Ceballos and so we made the move," Best said of the 3-pointer. "I felt I had a chance to put the ball in the bucket because the floor was spread and there was no designed (play). ... I got my defender back on his heels and took advantage of it."
Dale Davis added 16 points for the Pacers, who haven't lost at home since Nov. 25.
Rodman's rebounds were his most yet in his four games for the Mavericks.
There were four ties and two lead changes in the fourth quarter before Miller's tying and winning free throws, along with seven ties and nine lead changes in the first three quarters.
Dallas led 51-44 at halftime and saw the lead evaporate as it hit only one of its first 13 shots in the third quarter. Indiana took its only lead of the quarter at 54-53 and Dallas responded with six consecutive points on two Finley jumpers sandwiched around a short basket by Nowitzki.
Dallas went on to take its biggest lead of the game at 66-58 on Steve Nash's 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining in the quarter.
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