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 Los Angeles* 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 (61–21) (clinched Central division)
  2. New Jersey Nets (47–35) (clinched Atlantic division)
  3. Detroit Pistons (54–28)
  4. Miami Heat (42–40)
  5. New Orleans Hornets (41–41)
  6. Milwaukee Bucks (41–41)
  7. New York Knicks (39–43)
  8. Boston Celtics (36–46)

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 (58–24) (clinched Midwest division)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (56–26) (clinched Pacific division)
  3. San Antonio Spurs (57–25)
  4. Sacramento Kings (55–27)
  5. Dallas Mavericks (52–30)
  6. Memphis Grizzlies (50–32)
  7. Houston Rockets (45–37)
  8. Denver Nuggets (43–39)

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Detroit Pistons

First Round[edit]

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Boston Celtics[edit]

April 17
Boston Celtics 88, Indiana Pacers 104
April 20
Boston Celtics 90, Indiana Pacers 103
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
April 23
Indiana Pacers 108, Boston Celtics 85
April 25
Indiana Pacers 90, Boston Celtics 75
Indiana wins the series, 4–0
FleetCenter, Boston, Massachusetts

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

(2) New Jersey Nets vs. (7) New York Knicks[edit]

April 17
New York Knicks 83, New Jersey Nets 107
April 20
New York Knicks 81, New Jersey Nets 99
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
April 22
New Jersey Nets 81, New York Knicks 78
April 25
New Jersey Nets 100, New York Knicks 94
New Jersey wins the series, 4–0
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York

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

(3) Detroit Pistons vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks[edit]

April 18
Milwaukee Bucks 82, Detroit Pistons 102
April 21
Milwaukee Bucks 92, Detroit Pistons 88
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
April 24
Detroit Pistons 95, Milwaukee Bucks 85
April 26
Detroit Pistons 109, Milwaukee Bucks 92
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
April 29
Milwaukee Bucks 77, Detroit Pistons 91
Detroit wins the series, 4–1
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

Last Playoff Meeting: 1989 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Detroit won 4–0)

(4) Miami Heat vs. (5) New Orleans Hornets[edit]

April 18
New Orleans Hornets 79, Miami Heat 81
April 21
New Orleans Hornets 63, Miami Heat 93
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
April 24
Miami Heat 71, New Orleans Hornets 77
April 27
Miami Heat 85, New Orleans Hornets 96
New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
April 30
New Orleans Hornets 83, Miami Heat 87
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
May 2
Miami Heat 83, New Orleans Hornets 89
New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
May 4
New Orleans Hornets 77, Miami Heat 85
Miami wins the series, 4–3
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

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

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (4) Miami Heat[edit]

May 6
Miami Heat 81, Indiana Pacers 94
May 8
Miami Heat 80, Indiana Pacers 91
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
May 10
Indiana Pacers 87, Miami Heat 94
May 12
Indiana Pacers 88, Miami Heat 100
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
May 15
Miami Heat 83, Indiana Pacers 94
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
May 18
Indiana Pacers 73, Miami Heat 70
Indiana wins the series, 4–2
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

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

(3) Detroit Pistons vs. (2) New Jersey Nets[edit]

May 3
New Jersey Nets 56, Detroit Pistons 78
May 7
New Jersey Nets 80, Detroit Pistons 95
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
May 9
Detroit Pistons 64, New Jersey Nets 82
May 11
Detroit Pistons 79, New Jersey Nets 94
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
May 14
New Jersey Nets 127, Detroit Pistons 120 (3OT)
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
May 16
Detroit Pistons 81, New Jersey Nets 75
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
May 20
New Jersey Nets 69, Detroit Pistons 90
Detroit wins the series, 4–3
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

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

Conference Finals: (1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Detroit Pistons[edit]

May 22
7:00 pm
Detroit Pistons 74, Indiana Pacers 78
Scoring by quarter: 26–22, 15–26, 17–13, 16–17
Pts: Richard Hamilton 23
Rebs: Ben Wallace 22
Asts: Ben Wallace 5
Pts: Jermaine O'Neal 21
Rebs: Jermaine O'Neal 14
Asts: Jamaal Tinsley 5
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Referees: Mike Callahan, Bernie Fryer, Ken Mauer
ESPN
May 24
7:00 pm
Detroit Pistons 72, Indiana Pacers 67
Scoring by quarter: 26–22, 15–26, 17–13, 16–17
Pts: Richard Hamilton 23
Rebs: Hamilton, R. Wallace, B. Wallace 8 each
Asts: Chauncey Billups 6
Pts: Reggie Miller 21
Rebs: Jeff Foster 9
Asts: Anthony Johnson 4
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Referees: Jim Clark, Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington
ESPN
May 26
8:30 pm
Indiana Pacers 78, Detroit Pistons 85
Scoring by quarter: 14–27, 16–9, 15–20, 33–29
Pts: Jermaine O'Neal 24
Rebs: Jermaine O'Neal 9
Asts: Jamaal Tinsley 4
Pts: Hamilton, R. Wallace 20 each
Rebs: Ben Wallace 16
Asts: Chauncey Billups 8
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Eddie Rush, Bill Spooner
ESPN
May 28
8:00 pm
Indiana Pacers 83, Detroit Pistons 68
Scoring by quarter: 29–17, 20–22, 21–11, 13–18
Pts: Ron Artest 20
Rebs: Jermaine O'Neal 13
Asts: Jamaal Tinsley 5
Pts: Richard Hamilton 22
Rebs: Ben Wallace 19
Asts: Chauncey Billups 5
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Joe Crawford, Bob Delaney, Greg Willard
ESPN
May 30
7:00 pm
Detroit Pistons 83, Indiana Pacers 65
Scoring by quarter: 25–17, 16–19, 21–17, 21–12
Pts: Richard Hamilton 33
Rebs: Ben Wallace 12
Asts: Chauncey Billups 7
Pts: Artest, Jones 13 each
Rebs: Ron Artest 11
Asts: Jamaal Tinsley 5
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Referees: Joe DeRosa, Ron Garretson, Steve Javie
ESPN
June 1
8:00 pm
Indiana Pacers 65, Detroit Pistons 69
Scoring by quarter: 23–11, 10–16, 17–19, 15–23
Pts: Jermaine O'Neal 20
Rebs: Artest, O'Neal 10 each
Asts: Anthony Johnson 7
Pts: Richard Hamilton 21
Rebs: Ben Wallace 16
Asts: Richard Hamilton 5
Detroit wins the series, 4–2
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Mike Callahan, Dan Crawford, Jack Nies

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[edit]

April 18
9:30 pm
Denver Nuggets 92, Minnesota Timberwolves 106
April 21
8:30 pm
Denver Nuggets 81, Minnesota Timberwolves 95
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
April 24
10:30 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 86, Denver Nuggets 107
TNT
April 27
10:30 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 84, Denver Nuggets 82
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
ESPN
April 30
9:30 pm
Denver Nuggets 91, Minnesota Timberwolves 102
Minnesota wins the series, 4–1
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Houston Rockets[edit]

April 17
10:30 pm
Houston Rockets 71, Los Angeles Lakers 72
April 19
10:30 pm
Houston Rockets 84, Los Angeles Lakers 98
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
ESPN
April 23
9:30 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 91, Houston Rockets 104
ESPN
April 25
3:30 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 92, Houston Rockets 88 (OT)
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
TNT
April 28
10:30 pm
Houston Rockets 78, Los Angeles Lakers 97
Los Angeles wins the series, 4–1
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

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

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Memphis Grizzlies[edit]

April 17
8:00 pm
Memphis Grizzlies 74, San Antonio Spurs 98
April 19
8:30 pm
Memphis Grizzlies 70, San Antonio Spurs 87
SBC Center, San Antonio, Texas
April 22
8:30 pm
San Antonio Spurs 95, Memphis Grizzlies 93
TNT
April 25
9:30 pm
San Antonio Spurs 110, Memphis Grizzlies 97
San Antonio wins the series, 4–0
The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee

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

(4) Sacramento Kings vs. (5) Dallas Mavericks[edit]

April 18
3:30 pm
Dallas Mavericks 105, Sacramento Kings 116
April 20
10:30 pm
Dallas Mavericks 79, Sacramento Kings 83
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
April 24
9:30 pm
Sacramento Kings 79, Dallas Mavericks 104
TNT
April 26
9:30 pm
Sacramento Kings 94, Dallas Mavericks 92
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
TNT
April 29
10:30 pm
Dallas Mavericks 118, Sacramento Kings 119
Sacramento wins the series, 4–1
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California

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

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (4) Sacramento Kings[edit]

May 4
9:30 pm
Sacramento Kings 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 98
May 8
9:30 pm
Sacramento Kings 89, Minnesota Timberwolves 94
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TNT
May 10
10:30 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 114, Sacramento Kings 113 (OT)
TNT
May 12
10:30 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 81, Sacramento Kings 87
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
TNT
May 14
9:30 pm
Sacramento Kings 74, Minnesota Timberwolves 86
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 16
3:30 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 87, Sacramento Kings 104
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
TNT
May 19
9:00 pm
Sacramento Kings 80, Minnesota Timberwolves 83
Minnesota wins the series, 4–3
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

May 2
2:30 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 78, San Antonio Spurs 88
May 5
8:30 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 85, San Antonio Spurs 95
SBC Center, San Antonio, Texas
ABC
May 9
12:30 pm
San Antonio Spurs 81, Los Angeles Lakers 105
TNT
May 11
7:30 pm
San Antonio Spurs 90, Los Angeles Lakers 98
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
ABC
May 13
7:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 74, San Antonio Spurs 73
SBC Center, San Antonio, Texas
TNT
May 15
7:30 pm
San Antonio Spurs 76, Los Angeles Lakers 88
Los Angeles wins the series, 4–2
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

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

Conference Finals: (1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

May 21
8:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 97, Minnesota Timberwolves 88
Scoring by quarter: 23–24, 23–20, 32–23, 19–21
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 27
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 18
Asts: Bryant, Fisher 6 each
Pts: Latrell Sprewell 23
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 10
Asts: Sam Cassell 8
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Referees: Joe Crawford, Bob Delaney, Greg Willard
TNT
May 23
7:30 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 71, Minnesota Timberwolves 89
Scoring by quarter: 24–32, 13–19, 19–17, 15–21
Pts: Kobe Bryant 27
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 16
Asts: Kobe Bryant 6
Pts: Kevin Garnett 24
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 11
Asts: Latrell Sprewell 8
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Referees: Joe DeRosa, Steve Javie, Bill Spooner
TNT
May 25
6:00 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 89, Los Angeles Lakers 100
Scoring by quarter: 17–24, 18–20, 30–26, 24–30
Pts: Kevin Garnett 22
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 11
Asts: Kevin Garnett 7
Pts: Bryant, O'Neal 22 each
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 17
Asts: Gary Payton 9
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Dan Crawford, Ron Garretson, Derrick Stafford
TNT
May 27
6:00 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 85, Los Angeles Lakers 92
Scoring by quarter: 24–23, 16–22, 20–30, 25–17
Pts: Kevin Garnett 28
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 13
Asts: Kevin Garnett 9
Pts: Kobe Bryant 31
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 19
Asts: Kobe Bryant 8
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Mike Callahan, Bernie Fryer, Jack Nies
TNT
May 29
8:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 96, Minnesota Timberwolves 98
Scoring by quarter: 21–14, 19–32, 23–27, 33–25
Pts: Kobe Bryant 23
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 13
Asts: Kobe Bryant 7
Pts: Kevin Garnett 30
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 19
Asts: Latrell Sprewell 5
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Referees: Jim Clark, Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington
TNT
May 31
6:00 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves 90, Los Angeles Lakers 96
Scoring by quarter: 17–28, 29–20, 22–19, 22–29
Pts: Latrell Sprewell 27
Rebs: Kevin Garnett 17
Asts: Sprewell, Martin 5 each
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 25
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 11
Asts: Gary Payton 8
Los Angeles wins the series, 4–2
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Ken Mauer, Eddie Rush

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

NBA Finals: (W2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (E3) Detroit Pistons[edit]

Main article: 2004 NBA Finals
June 6
6:00 pm
Detroit Pistons 87, Los Angeles Lakers 75
Scoring by quarter: 22–19, 18–22, 24–17, 23–17
Pts: Chauncey Billups 22
Rebs: B. Wallace, R. Wallace 8 each
Asts: Richard Hamilton 5
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 34
Rebs: O'Neal, Malone 11 each
Asts: Kobe Bryant 4
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Joe Crawford, Bob Delaney, Bernie Fryer
ABC
June 8
6:00 pm
Detroit Pistons 91, Los Angeles Lakers 99 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 16–18, 20–26, 30–24, 23–21, OT: 2–10
Pts: Chauncey Billups 27
Rebs: Ben Wallace 14
Asts: Chauncey Billups 9
Pts: Kobe Bryant 33
Rebs: Karl Malone 9
Asts: Luke Walton 8
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Joe DeRosa, Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore
ABC
June 10
9:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 68, Detroit Pistons 88
Scoring by quarter: 16–24, 16–15, 19–24, 17–25
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 14
Rebs: O'Neal, Medvedenko 8 each
Asts: Gary Payton 7
Pts: Richard Hamilton 31
Rebs: Ben Wallace 11
Asts: Hamilton, B. Wallace, Billups 3 each
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Mike Callahan, Dan Crawford, Ron Garretson
ABC
June 13
9:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 80, Detroit Pistons 88
Scoring by quarter: 22–21, 17–20, 17–15, 24–32
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 36
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 17
Asts: Rick Fox 6
Pts: Rasheed Wallace 26
Rebs: R. Wallace, B. Wallace 13 each
Asts: Richard Hamilton 6
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Jack Nies, Eddie Rush
ABC
June 15
9:00 pm
Los Angeles Lakers 87, Detroit Pistons 100
Scoring by quarter: 24–25, 21–30, 14–27, 28–18
Pts: Kobe Bryant 24
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 8
Asts: Luke Walton 5
Pts: Richard Hamilton 21
Rebs: Ben Wallace 22
Asts: Chauncey Billups 6
Detroit wins NBA Championship series 4–1
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Referees: Joe Crawford, Bernie Fryer, Bennett Salvatore

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

External links[edit]