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Ricky Pierce To Start In Place Of Reggie Miller

April 24, 1996

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Ricky Pierce will start in place of injured Reggie Miller on Thursday when the Indiana Pacers open their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.

Miller, the Pacers’ leading scorer, fractured his right eye socket on April 13 and is expected to miss most or all of the best-of-5 first-round series against the Hawks.

``I don’t feel any pressure, because this is the fun part of the year,″ said Pierce, who averaged 9.7 points a game this season. ``It’s great to be in the postseason again.″

Pierce, 36, played in 89 playoff games with Milwaukee and Seattle before coming to Indiana this season.

In the four games after Miller was injured, Haywoode Workman started three times and rookie Fred Hoiberg once.

``Ricky’s a good post defender, strong and tough,″ coach Larry Brown said of his decision to go with the 6-foot-4 Pierce in the playoffs. ``I also think he’s an offensive threat. I believe it’s really important that we make (Atlanta’s) Steve Smith guard somebody.″

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