2003–04 Los Angeles Lakers season

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2003–04 Los Angeles Lakers season
Pacific Division Champions
Western Conference Champions
Head coach Phil Jackson
General manager Mitch Kupchak
Owner(s) Jerry Buss
Arena Staples Center
Record 56–26 (.683)
Place Division: 1st (Pacific)
Conference: 2nd (Western)
Playoff finish NBA Finals
(eliminated 1–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Fox Sports Net West, KCAL
Radio AM 570 KLAC
< 2002–03 2004–05 >
Horace Grant battles for a jump ball versus Memphis Grizzlies Pau Gasol in November 2003.

The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers reached the 2004 NBA Finals, losing in 5 games to the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers in the offseason signed veteran free agents and former All-Stars Karl Malone and Gary Payton, who were recruited by center Shaquille O'Neal.[1][2] Payton struggled with coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense, which limited his ball-handling and post-up opportunities.[3][4]

Draft picks[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 24 Brian Cook F  United States Illinois
2 32 Luke Walton F  United States Arizona


Los Angeles Lakers roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
SG 8 United States Bryant, Kobe 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Lower Merion HS (PA)
PF 7 United States Cook, Brian 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 234 lb (106 kg) Illinois
PG 2 United States Fisher, Derek 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Arkansas-Little Rock
SF 17 Canada Fox, Rick 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) North Carolina
SF 3 United States George, Devean 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Augsburg
PF 54 United States Grant, Horace 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Clemson
PF 11 United States Malone, Karl 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 250 lb (113 kg) Louisiana Tech
PF 14 Ukraine Medvedenko, Slava 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 253 lb (115 kg) Ukraine
C 34 United States O'Neal, Shaquille 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 325 lb (147 kg) LSU
PG 20 United States Payton, Gary 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Oregon State
SG 21 United States Rush, Kareem 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Missouri
SF 9 United States Russell, Bryon 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) Long Beach State
C 31 United States Sampson, Jamal 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 235 lb (107 kg) California
SF 4 United States Walton, Luke 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Arizona
Head coach

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured


Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Shaquille O'Neal Horace Grant
PF Karl Malone Stanislav Medvedenko Brian Cook
SF Rick Fox Devean George Luke Walton
SG Kobe Bryant Kareem Rush Bryon Russell<
PG Gary Payton Derek Fisher Jannero Pargo

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 34–7 22–19 15–9
x-Sacramento Kings 55 27 .671 1 34–7 21–20 16–8
Portland Trail Blazers 41 41 .500 15 25–16 16–25 13–11
Seattle SuperSonics 37 45 .451 19 21–20 16–25 11–13
Golden State Warriors 37 45 .451 19 27–14 10–31 12–12
Phoenix Suns 29 53 .354 27 18–23 11–30 9–15
Los Angeles Clippers 28 54 .341 28 18–23 10–31 8–16

Template:2003-04 NBA West standings

Game log[edit]


West First Round[edit]

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Houston Rockets: Lakers win series 4–1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1999 Western Conference First Round (Los Angeles won 3-1)

West Conference Semifinals[edit]

The Lakers playing against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals at the SBC Center.

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) San Antonio Spurs: Lakers win series 4–2

Last Playoff Meeting: 2003 Western Conference Semifinals (San Antonio won 4-2)

West Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers win series 4–2

Last Playoff Meeting: 2003 Western Conference First Round (Los Angeles won 4-2)

NBA Finals[edit]

Series Summary[edit]

Team/Game 1 2 (OT) 3 4 5 Wins
Los Angeles (West) 75 99 68 80 87 1
Detroit (East) 87 91 88 88 100 4
  • (OT) denotes a game that required overtime.

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. This is only used in the Finals, all other playoff games are held in a 2-2-1-1-1 format (the team with home court advantage starts).[5]


The Lakers had a lineup of stars such as Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal - their offensive capability was expected to overpower Detroit's defensive-based gameplan.

Payton and Malone also added to the publicity of the Finals. Perennial All-Stars who had both previously reached the Finals, Payton had led the Seattle SuperSonics there in 1996, while Malone had led the Utah Jazz there in 1997 and 1998.[6] However, Michael Jordan and the Bulls denied them championship rings a total of three times. By the time of Jordan's retirement in 2003, the two veterans were aged and failed to lead their teams deep into the playoffs.[6][7] Thus, this Finals series was seen as the last chance for two of the greatest players in NBA history to finally become NBA champions (Later on, Malone retired while Payton became a champion as a key bench player for the Miami Heat).

Game One[edit]

Sunday, June 6, 2004, 14:30 at the Staples Center.

Considered to be a stunning upset by most of the NBA world, the Detroit Pistons managed to defeat the Lakers with imposing defense.[8] Defensively clamping down on everyone but Bryant and O'Neal, the Pistons managed to hold everyone else to a total of 16 points.

The Pistons trailed the Lakers 41–40 at halftime, but a 10–4 surge capped by Billups's 3-pointer gave the Pistons the lead. O'Neal's foul trouble furthered the scoring gap, with the Pistons leading by 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

Box Score

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Detroit 22 18 24 23 87
Los Angeles 19 22 17 17 75

Game Two[edit]

Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 15:04 at the Staples Center.

The second game was close throughout the first half, but in the third quarter Detroit would score 30 points, cutting the deficit 68–66. However, at the end of the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant's 3-point shot at 2.1 seconds to go would tie the game at 89–89. The Lakers and Pistons would then go to overtime, with the Lakers outscoring the Pistons 10–2.

Box Score

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. OT Total
Detroit 16 20 30 23 2 91
Los Angeles 18 26 24 21 10 99

Game Three[edit]

Thursday, June 10, 2004, 14:31 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Pistons beat Los Angeles by 20 in their first NBA Finals appearance together at The Palace of Auburn Hills since 1989[9] to take a 2–1 lead in the series. The 68 points scored by the Lakers set a franchise record for the fewest number of points scored in a playoff game.

Box Score

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Los Angeles 16 16 19 17 68
Detroit 24 15 24 25 88

Game Four[edit]

Sunday, June 13, 2004, 14:49 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Again, the Pistons defeated the Lakers, although this time by eight, to take a 3–1 series advantage.

Box Score

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Los Angeles 22 17 17 24 80
Detroit 21 20 15 32 88

Game Five[edit]

Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 14:32 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

In Game 5, the Pistons won their first championship since 1990, and Larry Brown finally won his title. The Pistons defense had overcome the high-scoring Laker offense, winning the game by 13, winning the series 4-1, and also ending a long Laker dynasty that lasted for many years. The game saw the end of Phil Jackson's first run as the coach (he returned for the 2005-06 season), and saw O'Neal, Payton, and Malone's last games in Laker uniforms (O'Neal and Payton were both acquired by the soon-to-be NBA Champions Miami Heat and Malone retired).

Box Score

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Los Angeles 24 21 14 28 87
Detroit 25 30 27 18 100

Player stats[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game



Award winners[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lakers Sign Free Agents Gary Payton and Karl Malone". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. July 16, 2003. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lazenby, Roland (2006). The Show: The Inside Story of the Spectacular Los Angeles Lakers in the Words of Those Who Lived It. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 422. ISBN 978-0-07-143034-0. 
  3. ^ DuPree, David (May 4, 2004). "Changing of guard not easy". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ Adande, J. A. (November 6, 2012). "West Side: Mike Brown's O is working". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Basketball: NBA Playoffs 2007 preview". betinf.com. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  6. ^ a b "Utah Jazz". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  7. ^ "Seattle Supersonics". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  8. ^ "Billups, Pistons Swipe Home-Court Advantage". NBA. Retrieved 2007-09-04. Led by their trademark daunting defense 
  9. ^ "DETROIT PISTONS HISTORY". Basketball Tickets. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 

External links[edit]