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April 16, 2012INDIANAPOLIS - Monday night in Indianapolis, Brad Miller played what was almost certainly his final game in his home state of Indiana.
And in a farewell season marred by injury, the retiring 36-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves center and Purdue alumnus actually got to play.
Miller played 25-and-a-half minutes Monday night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Minnesota's 111-88 loss to the Indiana Pacers, a game that wasn't that close for a Timberwolves team struggling mightily and playing right now without the injured Kevin Love, one of the best players in the NBA.
"It's a weird feeling," Miller said in the Timberwolves locker room prior to scoring five points, grabbing three rebounds and handing out two assists off the bench against a Pacers team he played for from 2001-03. "But I've been looking forward to this. At least I got to come back (to Indiana) this year. With the lockout schedule, we didn't know. It was nice to have my friends down one last time and everything and let them enjoy the game."
It's been quite a career for the Kendalville native, who wasn't even drafted in 1998, before a season spent playing in Greece earned him a shot with the Charlotte Hornets in '99.
Fourteen NBA season spent playing for seven teams, two All-Star Games and tens of millions of dollars earned later, here's Miller set to call it quits.
"Father Time kicks your butt eventually," said Miller said, who played in just his 13th game of the season in Indy. "And he's gotten a couple pretty good blows in lately."
And because of it, Miller's career is ending with him playing a limited role for a Minnesota team that's now lost 10 in a row during a season that's seen it lose point guard Ricky Rubio for the season to a major knee injury and Love for a period of time to a concussion.
"He's great in our locker room," said Minnesota coach Rick Adelman, who also coached Miller with the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets. "Any time I put him in the game, offensively, we get a boost. Defensively, at this stage, he struggles more, so if we can get him matched up defensively, he always helps us offensively."
At this stage, Miller doesn't have as much to give as he once did.
But during the past decade-and-a-half, he's given plenty.
"I've been trying to increase the number of years played by undrafted people," Miller joked, reeling off a quick checklist of the longevity of some of the players drafted while he wasn't. "Hopefully me sticking around 14 years will help out those statistics a little bit."
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