Originally created 06/05/99

Pacers-Knicks Complaints

INDIANAPOLIS -- A war of words replaced the war on the basketball court Friday as the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers waited to resume the Eastern Conference finals.

A day after New York coach Jeff Van Gundy complained about the Pacers' play and the officiating, the Pacers responded by saying the Knicks should shut up and play basketball.

"There's no whining on our part. Everything is coming from their camp," said Reggie Miller, accused by Van Gundy of taking cheap shots at the Knicks.

Van Gundy also accused Rik Smits of taking a cheap shot and claimed referees are not allowing his point guards to play defense against Indiana's Mark Jackson.

The New York coach said he had called NBA vice president Rod Thorn about the play in the opening two games in the best-of-7 series.

Miller wasn't impressed.

"If they're going to call Rod Thorn and beg for calls, they need to look at themselves in the mirror. They're the ones that are doing all the hitting and the holding," Miller said. "We're just trying to play basketball. ... It's too late in the season to be crying now."

The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 in New York on Saturday. The Knicks will be without center Patrick Ewing, gone for the rest of the season with a partially torn Achilles tendon.

"They have the advantage. They're the ones who won one here. We're trying to come into the Garden and win one," Miller said. "I don't understand where they're coming from. ... The good thing about is we play Saturday night and everything will resolve itself."

Jalen Rose agreed.

"We're a team that doesn't have to cry and whine. We're a team that is going to go out and play tough, give everything we have," Jalen Rose said. "We have guys that are going to be aggressive, be physical. You have to be at this point of the season or you will be at home watching."

Indiana coach Larry Bird said Van Gundy's comments were directed at officials.

"He's trying to work the officials, which is good. It's all part of the game," he said. "We say things how we feel. Obviously, he's not too happy right now. ... It's up to us to just go there and play basketball."

Rose didn't think Van Gundy's complaints would change the officiating for the rest of the series.

"I don't know that officials get caught up in that too much. They're human, they do hear and see what is going on," he said. "At this point of the season you have veteran crews and guys who have been around the block, so they're going to call the game the way they see it."

Saturday's game will only be the third one for Indiana in two weeks since it completed a sweep of Philadelphia in the semifinals May 23.

"I think it's been great for us," Bird said of the extensive time his team has had after the compacted 50-game schedule created after the NBA lockout ended. "We got a lot of things accomplished. We put in some new stuff on the offensive end. We've had time to prepare and that should help us."


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