2004 NBA Playoffs

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The 2004 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2003-04 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. Chauncey Billups was named NBA Finals MVP.

The San Antonio Spurs hosting the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the SBC Center.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, after missing the playoffs their first seven seasons and losing in the first round the next seven, won their first two playoff series in 2004 before losing to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. As of the end of 2014 season, the Timberwolves hold the longest active streak without a playoff berth, having missed the playoffs ten straight years since.

The Indiana Pacers made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since their NBA Finals run in 2000, after which they significantly changed the makeup of their team (yet still made the playoffs every year). Game 2 of the series with the Pistons was pivotal, as Tayshaun Prince blocked a lay-up by Reggie Miller late in the game to preserve the victory; the Pistons won 4–2.

The 2004 playoffs was the first appearance for the Memphis Grizzlies in their 9-year history which began in Vancouver. However, they failed to win a single game in their first 3 playoff appearances (2004, 2005, 2006), before earning their first playoff game and series victories in 2011.

This was the last playoff appearance for the New York Knicks until 2011, when they would be swept in the first round.

The Portland Trail Blazers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1982, while the Utah Jazz missed the playoffs for the first time since 1983.

This was the Denver Nuggets' first playoff appearance since 1995.

The New Orleans Hornets made their final postseason appearance as a member of the East. They would not make the playoffs again until 2008, as a member of the West (the result of a realignment with the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004–05 NBA season). Their playoff series with the Miami Heat, led by Dwyane Wade, was the last playoff series where the home team won all 7 games until 2008's Boston-Atlanta and Boston-Cleveland playoff series.

2004 was the first time in 14 years that all Texas teams made the playoffs, and the second time (first in 10 years) that all former ABA teams made the playoffs.

Bracket[edit]

First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 Indiana* 4
8 Boston 0
1 Indiana 4
4 Miami 2
4 Miami 4
5 New Orleans 3
1 Indiana 2
Eastern Conference
3 Detroit 4
3 Detroit 4
6 Milwaukee 1
2 New Jersey 3
3 Detroit 4
2 New Jersey* 4
7 New York 0
E3 Detroit 4
W2 L.A. Lakers 1
1 Minnesota* 4
8 Denver 1
1 Minnesota 4
4 Sacramento 3
4 Sacramento 4
5 Dallas 1
1 Minnesota 2
Western Conference
2 L.A. Lakers 4
3 San Antonio 4
6 Memphis 0
2 L.A. Lakers 4
3 San Antonio 2
2 L.A. Lakers* 4
7 Houston 1

* Division winner
Bold Series winner
italics Team with home-court advantage


Playoff qualifying[edit]

Eastern Conference[edit]

Best record in NBA[edit]

The Indiana Pacers clinched the best record in the NBA, and had earned court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. However, when the Indiana lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, home court advantage for the NBA Finals switched to the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers, who had posted a better regular season record at 56-26 than the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons at 54-28.

Clinched a playoff berth[edit]

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Indiana Pacers (clinched Central division)
  2. New Jersey Nets (clinched Atlantic division)
  3. Detroit Pistons
  4. Miami Heat
  5. New Orleans Hornets
  6. Milwaukee Bucks
  7. New York Knicks
  8. Boston Celtics

Western Conference[edit]

Best record in conference[edit]

The Minnesota Timberwolves clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. However, when Minnesota lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers gained home court advantage for the NBA Finals because the Lakers posted a better regular season record at 56-26 than the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons at 54-28.

Clinched a playoff berth[edit]

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (clinched Midwest division)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (clinched Pacific division)
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. Houston Rockets
  8. Denver Nuggets

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Detroit Pistons

First Round[edit]

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Boston Celtics: Pacers win series 4–0

Last Playoff Meeting: 2003 Eastern Conference First Round (Boston won 4-2)

(2) New Jersey Nets vs. (7) New York Knicks:Nets win series 4–0

Last Playoff Meeting: 1994 Eastern Conference First Round (New York won 3-1)

(3) Detroit Pistons vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks: Pistons win series 4–1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1989 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Detroit won 4-1)

(4) Miami Heat vs. (5) New Orleans Hornets: Heat win series 4–3

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first playoff meeting between the Heat and New Orleans Hornets.

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (4) Miami Heat: Pacers win series 4–2

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Pacers and Heat.

(2) New Jersey Nets vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4–3

Last Playoff Meeting: 2003 Eastern Conference Finals (New Jersey won 4-0)

Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4–2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1990 Eastern Conference First Round (Detroit won 3-0)

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

First Round[edit]

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Timberwolves win series 4–1

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Timberwolves and Nuggets.

(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)

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Memphis Grizzlies: Spurs win series 4–0

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Spurs and Grizzlies.

(4) Sacramento Kings vs. (5) Dallas Mavericks: Kings win series 4–1

Last Playoff Meeting: 2003 Western Conference Semifinals (Dallas won 4-3)

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (4) Sacramento Kings: Timberwolves win series 4–3

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Timberwolves and Kings.

(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)

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]

Main article: 2004 NBA Finals

(W2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (E3) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4–1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1989 NBA Finals (Detroit won 4-0)

External links[edit]