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Miller takes control, Pacers silence Sixers

Reggie Miller took his frustration out on the 76ers.

Miller, returning from a one-game suspension, had 25 points to lead the Pacers to an Eastern Conference semifinal series-ending 106-90 victory in Game 6 Friday.

"The playoffs is when I'm at my best," said Miller, suspended for an altercation with 76ers center Matt Geiger in Game 4. "To not be a part of that (in Game 5), especially when your team is up 3-1, it kept bothering me all week. The more upset I got, the more I wanted to do something about it."

Philadelphia was trying to become the first team to win a best-of-seven series after falling behind 3-0.

Indiana advanced to the conference final for the third straight season and the fifth time in seven years.

"What are we celebrating for?" Miller said. "We've been here four, five times. We have nothing to celebrate."

Jalen Rose added 21 points for the Pacers.

Miller took over in the third quarter. He capped an 8-1 run by converting a backdoor alley-oop for his first basket since the first quarter and a 74-63 lead.

Miller converted a jumperm then hit an open three-pointer to make it 83-69 with 31 seconds left.

Travis Best made a pair of free throws as Indiana took its biggest lead to that point at 85-69 after three quarters.

After the 76ers cut it to 90-79 midway through the fourth, Miller iced the game with another three-pointer to make it 93-79. He turned and stared at the Philadelphia bench after the shot.

"I didn't say anything," Miller said. "Looks say a thousand words."

Philadelphia didn't get any closer than 14 the rest of the game.

"I told Mark (Jackson) after Game 5 that I was going to shoot as much as possible," Miller said. "Sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I wanted to get going quickly because if my teammates saw me do that, they were going to jump on my back."

The game was stopped for about three minutes with 2:36 left after a spectator threw a bottle of water on the court.

Asked what he thought about the fans' derisive chants in the series, Miller said: "I thought they were saying, "Reggie rocks.' "

Aaron McKie led the 76ers with 19 points, and Allen Iverson had 18. Rik Smits added 18 for Indiana and Jackson had 12 points and 11 assists.

"We really moved the ball extremely well, especially in the beginning," Pacers coach Larry Bird said. "We turned it over early, but I wasn't concerned. We were setting the tempo."

Miller quieted the sellout crowd early by making his first four shots. He shot 6-for-8 in the first quarter for 13 points, but didn't score again until making two free throws early in the third.

Miller was 10-for-19 from the field.

"He's a great player," McKie said. "He steps up his game in the playoffs. I got to see it up close in person."

Philadelphia never led after Iverson opened the game with a fallaway jumper. Indiana then went on a 10-1 run.

As the final seconds ticked, Iverson appeared inconsolable.

"I'm a competitor. When I see the clock go down and I'm out, I know the game is over," Iverson said. "I saw the whole season pass by just like that and it hurt."

"I'm really proud of my team, but they're better," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Reggie was phenomenal. They came in and did great, did whatever they wanted offensively. That's the best anybody has executed against us all year."

DRAFT: Chris Mihm of Texas, Marcus Fizer of Iowa State and Stromile Swift of LSU are among the 35 college and high school players who filed as early entry candidates.

The league also received letters from 20 international players requesting early entry in the draft, which will be held June 28.

Among the eligible are two high school players, 6-foot-9 Darius Miles of East St. Louis High School in Missouri and 6-5 DeShawn Stevenson of Washington Union High School in California.

The draft lottery, which determines the order of selection among non-playoff teams, is scheduled for Sunday.

Last year, 29 college and high school players declared themselves eligible. A record 47 underclassmen declared in 1997.

College players can withdraw their names from consideration by notifying the league in writing no later than one week before the draft. Of the college players who declared, 14 were juniors, 14 were sophomores and five were freshmen.

WIZARDS: St. John's coach Mike Jarvis said his agent, Robert Ades, was gathering information about whether Michael Jordan wanted to offer Jarvis a job. Neither Ades nor Jarvis had heard from Jordan as of Friday night.

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