2000 NBA Finals
(Los Angeles Lakers)
|Announcers||Bob Costas and Doug Collins|
|Announcers||Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay|
|Hall of Famers||Pacers:
Chris Mullin (2011)
Reggie Miller (2012)
Larry Bird (1998, player)
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
|Eastern Finals||Pacers defeat Knicks, 4–2|
|Western Finals||Lakers defeat Trail Blazers, 4–3|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
The 2000 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1999–2000 National Basketball Association season. The Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference took on the Indiana Pacers of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Lakers holding home court advantage. The series is played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to collect four game victories wins the series.
The Lakers won the series 4 games to 2. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal was named the Most Valuable Player of the series. Until 2008, this was the last NBA Finals where both number one seeds from each conference faced off.
- 1 Background
- 2 2000 NBA Finals Roster
- 3 Series summary
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers were one of the most talented teams in the NBA, but despite this, they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA playoffs. Twenty-four days after being swept by the eventual NBA Champion, the Lakers signed Phil Jackson as head coach. Jackson, who coached the 6-time champion Chicago Bulls would build his triangle offense around Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. General Manager Jerry West surrounded Shaq and Kobe with role players such as Glen Rice; Ron Harper, who had experience with Jackson's triangle offense as part of the '96–'98 Chicago Bulls; and A. C. Green, a member of the last two Laker championship teams.
Along with these starters, the Lakers also had a strong bench lineup. Robert Horry has had championship experience with the Houston Rockets, and was a threat at the perimeter as well as a defensive star. Derek Fisher was a point-guard defender who had long range shooting. Rick Fox, who was from the Boston Celtics, was the sixth man of the Lakers. With a healthy Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers dominated the regular season, hitting winning streaks of 11, 16, and 19 en route to a 67–15 record, tying the 1992 Chicago Bulls and 1986 Boston Celtics as the fifth best record in NBA regular season history.
The Lakers were expected to make a trip to the Finals, but the road would be a rocky one. In the first round the Lakers took the first two games against the Sacramento Kings, only to drop both games in Sacramento. The Lakers then easily dispatched Sacramento in Game 5 to face the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers clobbered the Suns, winning the series 4–1 with the only defeat by a 20 point margin in Game 4, and would face the Portland Trail Blazers. In Game 1, Rasheed Wallace was ejected because of two technical fouls, and the Lakers took advantage and won. The Trail Blazers stormed back in Game 2, giving the Lakers their worst home loss in the season (106–77). This did not affect the Lakers as they took the next two in Portland, gaining a 3–1 series lead. The Lakers, however, then underestimated the Trail Blazers, who took the next two, forcing a Game 7. After Dick Bavetta made several questionable calls against Arvydas Sabonis, Portland suffered a meltdown as the Lakers rallied back from a 75–60 4th quarter deficit with a 25–4 run en route to the NBA Finals.
In the 1997–1998 NBA season, Chicago Bulls were nearly defeated by the Indiana Pacers in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals, concluding one of the greatest Pacers seasons ever. The 1999 NBA season was a lockout season, where the Pacers would also see their season end at the Eastern Conference Finals, this time to the New York Knicks. The 1999–2000 season would see many changes to the Pacers, including a new arena, Conseco Fieldhouse. Another change is trading their veteran big man, Antonio Davis for the rights to No. 5 overall pick Jonathan Bender. Jalen Rose would be put into the starting line up, winning the NBA Most Improved Player award, while Austin Croshere replaced him as the sixth man.
The Pacers would start the season 7–7, barely in playoff contention, but would eventually finish with an Eastern Conference best 56–26 record. During the season, the Pacers would win 25 straight in their new arena, a franchise record. The Pacers, like the Lakers, would struggle in the playoffs. They needed a "clutch" Travis Best three-point play to dispatch the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. They faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, earning a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. The Pacers would face their rival Knicks, in a reversal of fortunes from the previous year, the Pacers would win in a memorable six games series. The Pacers would enter the NBA Finals for the first time, to face the Lakers as well as being the second former ABA team to make the NBA Finals.
Road to the Finals
|Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference Champion)||Indiana Pacers (Eastern Conference Champion)|
1st seed in the West, best league record
|Defeated the (8) Sacramento Kings, 3–2||First Round||Defeated the (8) Milwaukee Bucks, 3–2|
|Defeated the (5) Phoenix Suns, 4–1||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (4) Philadelphia 76ers, 4–2|
|Defeated the (3) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–3||Conference Finals||Defeated the (3) New York Knicks, 4–2|
Regular season series
Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:
January 14, 2000
|Los Angeles Lakers 102, Indiana Pacers 111|
2000 NBA Finals Roster
2000 Los Angeles Lakers
2000 Indiana Pacers
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Road Team|
|Game 1||Wednesday, June 7||Los Angeles Lakers||104–87 (1–0)||Indiana Pacers|
|Game 2||Friday, June 9||Los Angeles Lakers||111–104 (2–0)||Indiana Pacers|
|Game 3||Sunday, June 11||Indiana Pacers||100–91 (1–2)||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Game 4||Wednesday, June 14||Indiana Pacers||118–120 OT (1–3)||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Game 5||Friday, June 16||Indiana Pacers||120–87 (2–3)||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Game 6||Monday, June 19||Los Angeles Lakers||116–111 (4–2)||Indiana Pacers|
The Finals were played using a 2–3–2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals in 1985. So far, the other playoff series are still running on a 2–2–1–1–1 site format.
This was the second time a Finals game was played on a Monday night since the NBA switched to the Wednesday-Friday-Sunday rotation in 1991. In the previous five series ('92–'94, '96, '98) that needed a Game 6, the game was played on a Sunday. In this series, however, the NBA chose to play the game the Monday night after Father's Day. The previous Finals game played on a Monday night was Game 3 in 1999.
|Indiana Pacers 87, Los Angeles Lakers 104|
|Scoring by quarter: 18–33, 25–22, 28–22, 16–27|
|Pts: Mark Jackson 18
Rebs: Dale Davis 8
Asts: Mark Jackson 7
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 43
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 19
Asts: Bryant, Harper 5 each
|Los Angeles leads the series, 1–0|
The Lakers dominated from the start. The Lakers shot 15–20 in the first period while the Pacers shot only 7–20. Reggie Miller would miss all of his shots in the first quarter to give the Lakers a 15 point lead. Austin Croshere came off the bench to keep the Pacers alive in the 2nd quarter, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in the quarter. Although the Pacers attempted a comeback in the 2nd quarter, they were still down by 12. In the 3rd quarter, it would be Mark Jackson who led the Pacers to a comeback, cutting the Lakers lead by 2. Reggie Miller also hit his first field goal in the 3rd quarter, though it would be his last. The Lakers handled the Pacers in the final quarter, with a 13–2 run winning by 17 points. Shaquille O'neal scored 43 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
|Indiana Pacers 104, Los Angeles Lakers 111|
|Scoring by quarter: 28–28, 21–24, 20–21, 35–38|
|Pts: Jalen Rose 30
Rebs: Dale Davis 10
Asts: Mark Jackson 8
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 40
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 24
Asts: Brian Shaw 7
|Los Angeles leads the series, 2–0|
Los Angeles and Indiana were evenly matched for the first quarter, both scoring 28. But Los Angeles suffered a major setback when Kobe Bryant left the game in the 2nd quarter due to a sprained ankle and did not return. Jalen Rose later admitted that he intentionally stuck out his foot when Kobe shot a jumpshot so as to trip him when he landed. Ron Harper went in for Bryant and scored 21 points for the game. Desperate to try to gain the lead, Larry Bird resorted to the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy. Shaq shot 39 free throws, making only 18, an NBA record for most free throws attempted. Despite this low percentage, Shaq made 9 of 16 in the 4th quarter to keep a Lakers lead. The Pacers cut the lead to 99–96 and were looking to foul Shaq, but when Shaq got the ball he passed to Robert Horry who converted not only the layup, but the foul shot as well giving them a 102–96 lead en route to a 111–104 Laker victory.
|Los Angeles Lakers 91, Indiana Pacers 100|
|Scoring by quarter: 15–23, 27–30, 24–26, 25–21|
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 33
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 13
Asts: Derek Fisher 10
|Pts: Reggie Miller 33
Rebs: Dale Davis 12
Asts: Mark Jackson 6
|Los Angeles leads the series, 2–1|
Due to Kobe Bryant's ankle injury, Indiana was able to get back into the series. Kobe's absence was felt as the Pacers had an 11–2 run in the first quarter to take an 8-point lead. Austin Croshere once again had another huge 2nd quarter, scoring 8 points as the Pacers scored 61%.[clarification needed] The Lakers tried to make a run to get back into the game, but once they did Indiana answered with 12 straight points and led by 17. The Lakers were desperate and attempted another run to get within 3 points but Reggie Miller nailed all his free throws at the end of the game to give Indiana a 9-point win.
|Los Angeles Lakers 120, Indiana Pacers 118 (OT)|
|Scoring by quarter: 23–33, 28–21, 29–23, 24–27, OT: 16–14|
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 36
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 21
Asts: Kobe Bryant 5
|Pts: Reggie Miller 35
Rebs: Dale Davis 8
Asts: Mark Jackson 8
|Los Angeles leads the series, 3–1|
The Pacers took a quick 9–2 lead due to Rik Smits hitting his first four shots. Kobe Bryant attempted to play with his sore ankle, but only managed to score 6 points in the first half. Even though Bryant and O'Neal were in foul trouble in the first half (each picking up number 3 with 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter), Indiana could not take advantage and did not extend their lead. This would be a problem as Kobe Bryant scored 10 points and the Lakers took a 62–60 lead due to a Glen Rice three-pointer. The game remained close going into the fourth quarter, when O'Neal and Reggie Miller scored 14 and 13 points respectively, sending the game into overtime. Midway through overtime, O'Neal committed his sixth foul but 21-year-old Bryant delivered three clutch shots, as the Lakers were able to overcome back-up center John Salley's inability to effectively defend Smits. Smits and Miller scored all 14 of Indiana's OT points, but it was not enough to overcome as Miller missed a last-second three-pointer, and L.A. was able to pull one out in Indianapolis.
|Los Angeles Lakers 87, Indiana Pacers 120|
|Scoring by quarter: 28–39, 17–25, 22–22, 20–34|
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 35
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 11
Asts: Ron Harper 5
|Pts: Jalen Rose 32
Rebs: Austin Croshere 9
Asts: Mark Jackson 7
|Los Angeles leads the series, 3–2|
Reggie Miller and the Pacers dominated the game from the start in what would be Larry Bird's last game as a coach in Indiana. Reggie Miller came out and made 5 straight shots including a 4-point play. The Pacers hit their first 6 three point shots in the game. The Pacers would have a 20 point lead in the 2nd quarter, and eventually won by 33 – it was the worst Lakers NBA Finals loss since the 148–114 loss to Boston in the 1985 NBA Finals, known as the "Memorial Day Massacre."
|Indiana Pacers 111, Los Angeles Lakers 116|
|Scoring by quarter: 26–24, 30–29, 28–26, 27–37|
|Pts: Jalen Rose 29
Rebs: Dale Davis 14
Asts: Mark Jackson 11
|Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 41
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 12
Asts: Ron Harper 9
|Los Angeles wins the series, 4–2|
With their loss in Game 5, the Lakers record in close-out games dropped to 3–6 in the 2000 NBA Playoffs (the other losses coming in Games 3 and 4 in the first round against Sacramento, Game 4 in the series against Phoenix, and Games 5 and 6 versus Portland). As a result, the series returned to California.
After the two teams traded blows in the first quarter, Mark Jackson concluded the period with a turn-around half-court shot at the buzzer to give the Pacers a 26–24 advantage. They would not relinquish their lead until the fourth quarter.
In the first half, the Pacers would lead by as many as twelve points. However, the Lakers chipped away and entered intermission trailing 56–53. Indiana, however, added two more points to their lead, and entered the final period in a position to force a decisive seventh game.
In the fourth quarter, the momentum shifted. The Lakers got four timely three-pointers from Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, and Rick Fox. The turning point occurred on a play where Brian Shaw stole the ball from Jalen Rose, leading to a fast break where Shaquille O'Neal hit an off-balance shot to give the Lakers the lead. The Pacers never led after this.
The Lakers would build a seven-point lead, but the Pacers fought back to tie the score at 103. After a timeout, the Lakers scored six unanswered points to regain control. The Pacers made one final valiant effort, but it fell short and the Lakers clinched their first championship in twelve years. Shaquille O'Neal led all scorers with 41 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds. He was awarded the Finals MVP.
This was the first NBA championship for the Lakers since 1988. It was also the first major professional sports championship for the city of Los Angeles since the Dodgers won that year's World Series. This championship came in the Lakers' first year in their new arena, Staples Center.
The Lakers went on to score a 'three-peat' when they won the NBA championship in 2001 and 2002, making them the first team to open a new arena with three straight NBA championships. However, the Lakers were unable to score home-court advantage throughout the playoffs in the latter two, yielding them to the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings, respectively. In addition, the Lakers were able to beat both of them in the Conference Finals. They won the championship over the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, respectively.
The series would be the Pacers' only finals appearance to date. The Pacers would rebuild in the subsequent season. Retiring center Rik Smits was replaced by future NBA All-Star Jermaine O'Neal, acquired from Portland in the deal for Dale Davis. Mark Jackson and Chris Mullin both left as free-agents, and Larry Bird resigned as head coach. Bird would resurface as President of Basketball Operations in 2003. The Pacers continued to make the post-season until 2006, the year after Reggie Miller retired.
- Bresnahan, Mike (March 14, 2013). "Kobe Bryant sprains left ankle in Lakers loss, out indefinitely". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013.
- Ryan, Chris (March 14, 2013). "Jalen Rose on That Time He Intentionally Tried to Injure Kobe Bryant". grantland.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013.
- Grantland, Channel. "Jalen Rose on Kobe Bryant and Karma". Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Dilbeck, Steve (June 13, 2002). "One More Three Peat; Jackson Tickled by his Ninth Championship and Ready More". Los Angeles Daily News. p. S5.
- NBA History
- Official Website on NBA.com at the Wayback Machine (archived August 15, 2000)
- 2000 NBA Finals on YouTube