Welcome to the Greatest Moment series at Last Word On Pro Basketball, where we’ll present to you each NBA team’s greatest moment of the 21st century. From draft lottery luck, to a franchise-changing trade, to the sweet taste of a championship, every NBA team has had its own special moment to look back on.
In this edition, we’ll relive the greatest Detroit Pistons moment of the 21st century: Pistons take out Star-Studded Lakers in 2004 Finals.
Greatest Detroit Pistons Moment of the 21st Century: Pistons Take Out Star-Studded Lakers in 2004 Finals.
There was a lot to make of the 2003-2004 NBA season. It was the first year the league saw 18-year-old phenom, LeBron James. Kevin Garnett won the MVP award. It was the year the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers were taken out in The NBA finals by The Detroit Pistons.
The Heavy Favorites
The Lakers had all kinds of talent to overtake the Spurs as NBA champs, and did. As the second seed in the West, they took them out in The Western Conference semi-finals in 6 games and breezed through to the NBA finals with a series win over top seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. Sporting the likes of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Fisher, and aging, but effective Karl Malone, they had all the talent to be crowned the new champs.
The Surprise in the East
There was a 3 seed over in the East with other aspirations, however. Even though it was thought by many that Los Angeles had more star power, the Pistons were no slouches. Sporting Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince, Detroit had some star power of their own. However, it was the incredible defense that separated Detroit from the rest of the crowd. Coaches everywhere pointed to the Pistons as an example of true team play. That, however, proved to be an anomaly in today’s game.
Detroit had their toughest series in round two. It took a full seven game series to take out the back then, second seeded New Jersey Nets. After taking out number one seeded Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, one team stood in their way.
That’s when the unexpected took place.
Greatest Detroit Pistons Moment
Many call the 2004 NBA Finals “The Five Game Sweep” due to the sheer dominance displayed by Detroit. The only loss for Detroit came on Kobe Bryant’s 33-point effort in game two, with Shaq chipping in 29 of his own. Allowing a staggeringly low 82 points-per-game, Los Angeles had no answer offensively, as they failed to break the 100-point barrier in any game throughout the finals.
It wasn’t Kobe or Shaq that took home finals MVP honors. None of the superstar Lakers were awarded. It was Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups, with his solid 2-way play and 21 points-per-game. He, lead the charge in the greatest Detroit Pistons moment of the 21st century.
June 12, 2005; San Antonio, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups against San Antonio Spurs during Game 2 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2005, at the SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs won 97-76. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
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