Mike Miller mulls retirementMitchell native to visit with doctors, consider future after near-record NBA finals performance
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
Go out on top.
That’s what Mitchell native Mike Miller could do if he decides to retire after his electric performance in Thursday night’s NBA finals game.
Miller was 7 of 8 from 3-point range as the Miami Heat cruised to an NBA title, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106.
He was just one 3-pointer shy of the Finals record, set when Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen made eight against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010.
Still, the 32-year-old Miller isn’t sure if he wants to hang up his jersey after the high point of his professional career.
“I’ve got to make sure it’s the best [decision], if it is, I couldn’t picture a better way to go out on top as a champion like this, but we will see,” Miller said during a post-game broadcast interview. “I’ll visit the doctors and see what parts work and don’t, and go from there.”
Miller has been struggling through injuries since he came to the Miami Heat in 2010.
Nagged by back problems throughout this playoff run, he could often be seen clutching his shorts and grimacing in pain after a break in the action.
“I’m just glad they didn’t take me out back to the barn and put me down,” Miller said.
During the game Thursday, television announcers joked that he needed a chiropractor after each play. Still, Miller played on.
“A lot of us dream of these situations.” Miller said. “For me coming from South Dakota and having the opportunity to play in two NBA finals is a dream come true. I wasn’t going to miss that for anything in the world.”
Miller averaged just more than 19 minutes of playing time per game this season. During Thursday’s 23-minute campaign, Miller amassed more than 20 points for the first time this season, making it by far his best statistical game of the year.
Before Thursday’s game, he had only eight points in 21 total minutes and no three-pointers during the first four games of this year’s NBA Finals.
Even head coach Eric Spoelstra was surprised Miller’s back held up for as long as it did Thursday.
“I don’t know how this guy was playing,” Spoelstra said. “I literally only planned on playing him three or four minutes. That’s all I thought he could go.”
No teammate is happier for Miller then Udonis Haslem. Haslem and Miller played together at the University of Florida, where they came just short of winning an NCAA title together in 2000.
“I’m happy. That’s my brother,” Haslem said in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. “He’s my brother from another mother. I’m just happy he came out. We’ve had different guys step up at different times. It was Mike Miller’s night and he was ready.”
“It’s all about how you end,” teammate Dwyane Wade said of Miller’s performance. “He was so tough. ... When I got into foul trouble, he came into the game. If anyone wanted it, I know Mike Miller wanted it as bad as LeBron James did.”
If Miller does decide to retire after a 12-year career in the NBA, he would end with career averages of 12.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game during the 772 regular season contests in his career. His playoff numbers are lower, including an average of 5.7 points in 61 games, but last year was the first time he made it past the first round.
Obviously hurting physically after a stellar close-out game Thursday, Miller didn’t plan to let the pain stop him from celebrating.
After the game, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley asked Miller if his back was hurting too bad for him to “get his drink on.”
Miller’s answer was a concise “No chance.”