2003–04 Indiana Pacers season

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2003–04 Indiana Pacers season
Head coach Rick Carlisle
General manager Larry Bird
Arena Conseco Fieldhouse
Record 61–21 (.744)
Place Division: 1st (Central)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish Eastern Conference Finals
(eliminated 2-4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television FSN Midwest, WTTV
Radio WIBC
< 2002–03 2004–05 >

The 2003–04 Indiana Pacers season was the 28th season completed by the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).[1] The Pacers finished with the best record in the league with a 61-21 record.


NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 2003 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
2 49 James Jones SF  United States Miami


Indiana Pacers roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
G 13 United States Anderson, Kenny 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 168 lb (76 kg) 1970–10–09 Georgia Tech
F 23 United States Artest, Ron 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 244 lb (111 kg) 1979–11–13 St. John's
F 24 United States Bender, Jonathan 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 202 lb (92 kg) 1981–01–30 Picayune Memorial HS (MS)
G 2 United States Brewer, Jamison 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 184 lb (83 kg) 1980–11–19 Auburn
C 27 Slovenia Brezec, Primož 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 252 lb (114 kg) 1979–10–02 Slovenia
F 44 United States Croshere, Austin 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1975–05–01 Providence
F/C 10 United States Foster, Jeff 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 236 lb (107 kg) 1977–01–16 Texas State
F 3 United States Harrington, Al 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1980–02–17 St. Patrick HS (NJ)
G 8 United States Johnson, Anthony 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1974–10–02 College of Charleston
G/F 20 United States Jones, Fred 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1979–03–11 Oregon
F 33 United States Jones, James 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1980-10-04 Miami (FL)
G/F 31 United States Miller, Reggie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1965–08–24 UCLA
F/C 7 United States O'Neal, Jermaine 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 226 lb (103 kg) 1978–10–13 Eau Claire HS (SC)
C 62 United States Pollard, Scot 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1975–02–12 Kansas
G 11 United States Tinsley, Jamaal 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1978–02–28 Iowa State
Head coach

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

Last transaction: 2012–10–10

Regular Season[edit]

During the Summer of 2003, former Pacers head coach Larry Bird was named President of Basketball Operations. One of Bird's first moves in his new position was to fire head coach Isiah Thomas after Thomas had led the Pacers to first-round playoff exits for three consecutive years. The defensive-minded Rick Carlisle, former head coach of the Detroit Pistons, was announced as Thomas' replacement.

Due to the Pacers' financial overextension, the Pacers had little choice but to make a three-way trade in which they gave up All-Star big man Brad Miller to the Sacramento Kings and swingman Ron Mercer to the San Antonio Spurs for lesser-paid veterans Scot Pollard and Danny Ferry in order to save money. However, Ferry was waived shortly after the Pacers acquired him.

The Pacers started the season strong and never lost momentum. Although the Pacers began the season with Kenny Anderson starting at point guard and Pollard at center, Carlisle eventually chose to replace them in the lineup with Jamaal Tinsley and Jeff Foster after an injury to Anderson knocked him off the active list, and Carlisle observed the contrast between Foster's blue-collar work ethic and Pollard's poor play. The combination of Carlisle's defensive schemes and outstanding play on both ends of the floor by All-Star power forward Jermaine O'Neal proved too much for the competition, and the Pacers led the Eastern Conference as well as the entire NBA with the best record for most of the season. The Pacers finished the season with a record of 61-21, which was worthy of the Eastern Conference first seed in the 2004 NBA Playoffs, guaranteed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, and a new all-time franchise-best win-loss record. O'Neal was named to the All-NBA Second Team, the first Pacer ever to do so, and even finished third in the MVP voting, which was the highest in the voting any Pacers player had ever reached. All-Star small forward Ron Artest was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, and also was named Defensive Player of the Year, the first Pacer ever to receive this award.

The Pacers had reached a peak in confidence that they had not reached since the 2000 Pacers team which reached the NBA Finals. In the first round of the playoffs, the Pacers swept the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics 4-0. They proceeded to defeat the fourth-seeded Miami Heat 4-2 in the second round, earning the Pacers their fifth spot in the Eastern Conference Finals in 11 years. The Pacers fell 2-4 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual NBA champions, the third-seeded Detroit Pistons, who were coached by former Pacers coach Larry Brown.


Central Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Indiana Pacers-y (1) 61 21 .744 -
Detroit Pistons-x (3) 54 28 .659 7
New Orleans Hornets-x (5) 41 41 .500 20
Milwaukee Bucks-x (6) 41 41 .500 20
Cleveland Cavaliers 35 47 .427 26
Toronto Raptors 33 49 .402 28
Atlanta Hawks 28 54 .341 33
Chicago Bulls 23 59 .280 38

Playoff seeds in parentheses


East 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)

East 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.

East 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)

Player Statistics[edit]





Player Acquired Former team Position
Kenny Anderson Signed as free agent New Orleans Hornets PG
Danny Ferry Trade San Antonio Spurs PF
Anthony Johnson Signed as free agent New Jersey Nets PG
James Jones Draft selection rookie SF
Scot Pollard Trade Sacramento Kings C


Player Departed New team Position
Danny Ferry Waived none PF
Tim Hardaway Retired none PG
Ron Mercer Trade San Antonio Spurs SF
Brad Miller Trade Sacramento Kings C
Erick Strickland Signed as free agent Milwaukee Bucks PG

Awards and records[edit]