2003–04 NBA season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 58th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 in the 2004 NBA Finals.

2003–04 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
SportBasketball
DurationOctober 28, 2003 – April 14, 2004
April 17 – June 1, 2004 (Playoffs)
June 6 – 15, 2004 (Finals)
Number of teams29
TV partner(s)ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV
Draft
Top draft pickLeBron James
Picked byCleveland Cavaliers
Regular season
Top seedIndiana Pacers
Season MVPKevin Garnett (Minnesota)
Top scorerTracy McGrady (Orlando)
Playoffs
Eastern championsDetroit Pistons
  Eastern runners-upIndiana Pacers
Western championsLos Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-upMinnesota Timberwolves
Finals
ChampionsDetroit Pistons
  Runners-upLos Angeles Lakers
Finals MVPChauncey Billups (Detroit)
SPURSStadium
The San Antonio Spurs hosting the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals at the SBC Center.

Events

This was the final season for the original two-division format in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, before each of the conferences added a third division the following season. As a result, this would also be the final season for the NBA Midwest Division, as the Minnesota Timberwolves were that division's last champion, the only division title the franchise has won in their twenty-nine seasons in the NBA.

The All-Star Game was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The West won 136-132; Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal was named Most Valuable Player.

For the first time in 21 years the Portland Trail Blazers did not make the playoffs, ending the second longest streak in NBA history. For the first time in 20 years the Utah Jazz did not make the playoffs, ending the third longest streak in NBA history.

Prior to the start of the season, Karl Malone and Gary Payton took major paycuts to leave their teams and join Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on the Lakers for a chance at a possible NBA title. However, that title chase came to an end in the NBA Finals, as the Detroit Pistons won 4-1. The Minnesota Timberwolves, behind their "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, and Sam Cassell, amassed the best record in the Western Conference, and were expected to finally win a first round playoff series. They won two and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, which they lost to the Lakers. It would be their last playoff appearance until the 2017–18 season.

LeBron James (1st overall to Cleveland), Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall to Denver), Chris Bosh (4th overall to Toronto), and Dwyane Wade (5th overall to Miami), among others, formed one of the strongest drafts in NBA history. Among the highly touted rookies, Anthony and Wade led their teams to the playoffs, and Wade's play pushed the Heat into the second round. James went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year. Anthony became the first NBA rookie to lead a playoff team in scoring since David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs during the 1989–90 season.

Tracy McGrady was the first scoring leader since Bernard King in 1984–85 whose team did not make the playoffs.

Coaching

Coaching changes
Offseason
Team 2002–03 coach 2003–04 coach
Cleveland Cavaliers Keith Smart Paul Silas
Detroit Pistons Rick Carlisle Larry Brown
Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich Jeff Van Gundy
Indiana Pacers Isiah Thomas Rick Carlisle
Los Angeles Clippers Dennis Johnson Mike Dunleavy, Sr.
Miami Heat Pat Riley Stan Van Gundy
Milwaukee Bucks George Karl Terry Porter
New Orleans Hornets Paul Silas Tim Floyd
Philadelphia 76ers Larry Brown Randy Ayers
Toronto Raptors Lenny Wilkens Kevin O'Neill
Washington Wizards Doug Collins Eddie Jordan
In-season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Boston Celtics Jim O'Brien John Carroll
Chicago Bulls Bill Cartwright Pete Myers
Pete Myers Scott Skiles
New Jersey Nets Byron Scott Lawrence Frank
New York Knicks Don Chaney Herb Williams
Herb Williams Lenny Wilkens
Orlando Magic Doc Rivers Johnny Davis
Philadelphia 76ers Randy Ayers Chris Ford
Phoenix Suns Frank Johnson Mike D'Antoni

Standings

By division

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-New Jersey Nets 47 35 .573 28–13 19–22 18–7
x-Miami Heat 42 40 .512 5 29–12 13–28 15–10
x-New York Knicks 39 43 .476 8 23–18 16–25 15–7
x-Boston Celtics 36 46 .439 11 19–22 17–24 14–10
Philadelphia 76ers 33 49 .402 14 21–20 12–29 10–14
Washington Wizards 25 57 .305 22 17–24 8–33 3–21
Orlando Magic 21 61 .256 26 11–30 10–31 8–16
Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Indiana Pacers 61 21 .744 34–7 27–14 20–8
x-Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 7 31–10 23–18 17–11
x-New Orleans Hornets 41 41 .500 20 25–16 16–25 14–14
x-Milwaukee Bucks 41 41 .500 20 27–14 14–27 15–13
Cleveland Cavaliers 35 47 .427 26 23–18 12–29 14–14
Toronto Raptors 33 49 .402 28 18–23 15–26 11–17
Atlanta Hawks 28 54 .341 33 18–23 10–31 10–18
Chicago Bulls 23 59 .280 38 14–27 9–32 11–17
Western Conference
Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Minnesota Timberwolves 58 24 .707 31–10 27–14 14–10
x-San Antonio Spurs 57 25 .695 1 33–8 24–17 15–9
x-Dallas Mavericks 52 30 .634 6 36–5 16–25 14–10
x-Memphis Grizzlies 50 32 .610 8 31–10 19–22 12–12
x-Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 13 27–14 18–23 8–16
x-Denver Nuggets 43 39 .524 15 29–12 14–27 11–13
Utah Jazz 42 40 .512 16 28–13 14–27 10–14
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

By conference

# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Indiana Pacers 61 21 .744
2 y-New Jersey Nets 47 35 .573 14
3 x-Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 7
4 x-Miami Heat 42 40 .512 19
5 x-New Orleans Hornets 41 41 .500 20
6 x-Milwaukee Bucks 41 41 .500 20
7 x-New York Knicks 39 43 .476 22
8 x-Boston Celtics 36 46 .439 25
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 35 47 .427 26
10 Toronto Raptors 33 49 .402 28
11 Philadelphia 76ers 33 49 .402 28
12 Atlanta Hawks 28 54 .341 33
13 Washington Wizards 25 57 .305 36
14 Chicago Bulls 23 59 .280 37
15 Orlando Magic 21 61 .256 39
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Minnesota Timberwolves 58 24 .707
2 y-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 2
3 x-San Antonio Spurs 57 25 .695 1
4 x-Sacramento Kings 55 27 .671 3
5 x-Dallas Mavericks 52 30 .634 6
6 x-Memphis Grizzlies 50 32 .610 8
7 x-Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 13
8 x-Denver Nuggets 43 39 .524 15
9 Utah Jazz 42 40 .512 16
10 Portland Trail Blazers 41 41 .500 17
11 Seattle SuperSonics 37 45 .451 21
12 Golden State Warriors 37 45 .451 21
13 Phoenix Suns 29 53 .354 29
14 Los Angeles Clippers 28 54 .341 30

Notes

  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot

Playoffs

Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
E1 Indiana* 4  
E8 Boston 0  
  E1 Indiana* 4  
  E4 Miami 2  
E4 Miami 4
E5 New Orleans 3  
  E1 Indiana* 2  
Eastern Conference
  E3 Detroit 4  
E3 Detroit 4  
E6 Milwaukee 1  
  E3 Detroit 4
  E2 New Jersey* 3  
E2 New Jersey* 4
E7 New York 0  
  E3 Detroit 4
  W2 LA Lakers* 1
W1 Minnesota* 4  
W8 Denver 1  
  W1 Minnesota* 4
  W4 Sacramento 3  
W4 Sacramento 4
W5 Dallas 1  
  W1 Minnesota* 2
Western Conference
  W2 LA Lakers* 4  
W3 San Antonio 4  
W6 Memphis 0  
  W3 San Antonio 2
  W2 LA Lakers* 4  
W2 LA Lakers* 4
W7 Houston 1  


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

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game Tracy McGrady Orlando Magic 28.0
Rebounds per game Kevin Garnett Minnesota Timberwolves 13.9
Assists per game Jason Kidd New Jersey Nets 9.2
Steals per game Baron Davis New Orleans Hornets 2.36
Blocks per game Theo Ratliff Portland Trail Blazers 3.61
FG% Shaquille O'Neal Los Angeles Lakers .584
FT% Peja Stojaković Sacramento Kings .927
3FG% Anthony Peeler Sacramento Kings .482

Awards

Yearly awards

Players of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference
October – November Baron Davis (New Orleans Hornets) (1/1) Peja Stojaković (Sacramento Kings) (1/1)
December Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana Pacers) (1/1) Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) (1/4)
January Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks) (1/1) Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) (2/4)
February Kenyon Martin (New Jersey Nets) (1/1) Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) (3/4)
March Lamar Odom (Miami Heat) (1/1) Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)
April Jamaal Magloire (New Orleans Hornets) (1/1) Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) (4/4)

Rookies of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference
October – November LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (1/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (1/6)
December LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (2/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (2/6)
January LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (3/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (3/6)
February LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (4/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (4/6)
March LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (5/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (5/6)
April LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) (6/6) Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) (6/6)

Coaches of the month

The following coaches were named the Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference
October – November Rick Carlisle (Indiana Pacers) (1/1) Phil Jackson (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)
December Byron Scott (New Jersey Nets) (1/1) Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
January Larry Brown (Detroit Pistons) (1/2) Rick Adelman (Sacramento Kings) (1/1)
February Lawrence Frank (New Jersey Nets) (1/1) Hubie Brown (Memphis Grizzlies) (1/2)
March Stan Van Gundy (Miami Heat) (1/1) Hubie Brown (Memphis Grizzlies) (2/2)
April Larry Brown (Detroit Pistons) (2/2) Flip Saunders (Minnesota Timberwolves) (1/1)

References

2003 NBA draft

The 2003 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2003, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The NBA announced that 41 college and high school players and a record 31 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2003 NBA draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a 22.50 percent probability of obtaining the first selection, won the NBA draft lottery on May 22, and Cleveland chairman Gordon Gund said afterward his team would select LeBron James. The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets were second and third respectively.

The 2003 draft is known for having one of the most talented draft pools in draft history. The draft contained fifteen players that combined for twenty-six championships. Four of the top five picks are NBA All-Stars and "Redeem Team" Olympic Gold Medalists: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. Many players have been in the starting line-ups of their respective teams; nine have participated in an All-Star Game, Dwyane Wade was named NBA Finals MVP in 2006 and won the NBA All Star Game MVP in 2010. Boris Diaw won the Most Improved Player Award in 2006, Jason Kapono won the three point shootout back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008, James Jones won the three point shootout in 2011, Leandro Barbosa won the Sixth Man Award in 2007, Kyle Korver set the NBA record for three point shooting percentage in 2010 (53.6%), and in the 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 seasons LeBron James won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, and the NBA Finals MVP in 2012, 2013 and 2016. Carmelo Anthony won the 2013 NBA Scoring Title and is the only player in NBA history to win at least three Olympic gold medals. Zaza Pachulia and David West won NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. Matt Bonner won NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 and 2014. Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams won the NBA championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luke Walton won three NBA championships, two as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and one as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. Chris Bosh left Toronto in 2010 as its all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played. The 2003 draft class has drawn comparisons to the 1984 and 1996 NBA draft classes, but is also known for the Detroit Pistons having made the selection of Darko Miličić with the second pick over other prospects. Out of the entire draft, only Nick Collison has played his entire career for the team that drafted him.

2003–04 Atlanta Hawks season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Hawks' 55th season in the National Basketball Association, and 36th season in Atlanta. During the offseason, the Hawks signed free agent Stephen Jackson, while re-signing Jacque Vaughn after one season with the Orlando Magic. The Hawks continued to struggle as they lost eight of their first eleven games. At midseason, they traded Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Theo Ratliff to the Portland Trail Blazers for All-Star forward Rasheed Wallace. However, Wallace only played just one game for the Hawks before being traded to the Detroit Pistons for Bob Sura, while Dion Glover was released and signed with the Toronto Raptors. Wallace would win a championship with the Pistons as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the NBA Finals. In March, the Hawks signed free agent Jason Collier as they finished seventh in the Central Division with a 28–54 record.

Following the season, head coach Terry Stotts was fired, Jackson was traded to the Indiana Pacers, Jason Terry and longtime Hawks' forward Alan Henderson were both dealt to the Dallas Mavericks, Sura signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, and Vaughn signed with the New Jersey Nets.

2003–04 Boston Celtics season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 58th season for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Celtics acquired Raef LaFrentz, a teammate of Paul Pierce from the University of Kansas, from the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics roster move continued in December when Tony Battie and Eric Williams were both traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ricky Davis. In February, Mike James was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Lindsey Hunter and Chucky Atkins in a three-team trade involving the Atlanta Hawks. However, Hunter was waived after the trade and later re-signed with the Pistons. The team also released Vin Baker, who signed as a free agent with the New York Knicks.

Celtics head coach Jim O'Brien resigned after a 22–24 start to the season. He was replaced by John Carroll for the remainder of the season. However, the Celtics would lose 12 of their first 13 games under Carroll. When General Manager Danny Ainge stated that the Celtics would be better off missing the playoffs, the statement seemed to motivate the team as they posted a 9–5 record in March. The Celtics, despite finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division with a low 36–46 record, qualified for the playoffs as the number 8 seed. They were swept in four games by the Indiana Pacers in the opening round. Pierce was selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Following the season, Carroll was fired as coach.

2003–04 Chicago Bulls season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Bulls' 38th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bulls re-signed free agent and former All-Star forward Scottie Pippen. However, they continued to struggle finishing last place in the Central Division with a 23–59 record, missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season. Following the season, Pippen retired and Jamal Crawford was traded to the New York Knicks. (See 2003–04 Chicago Bulls season#Regular season)

2003–04 Cleveland Cavaliers season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 34th season of the National Basketball Association in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years following their 1998 first-round playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Cavaliers dropped to the bottom of the league and became a perennial entrant in the annual NBA Draft Lottery. The franchise's freefall bottomed out during the 2002–03 season, as the Cavs fell to a 17–65 record, tied with the Denver Nuggets for the league's worst.

However, the fortunes of the franchise shifted dramatically in May 2003, when the Cavs won the first overall pick in the draft lottery. The Cavaliers selected high school phenom LeBron James from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in nearby Akron, providing the team with a centerpiece player around which to build.The Cavs revised their look for the 2003–04 season, introducing a new logo and a variation on the wine and gold color scheme used by the club during the 1970s. Dark blue was also added as a trim color.

The team made major moves during the season, trading Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm, Michael Stewart and a second-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Eric Williams, Tony Battie, and Kedrick Brown. Later, Darius Miles was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jeff McInnis and Ruben Boumtje Boumtje.

The Cavaliers lost their first five games of the season, leading them to an awful 6–19 start. However, they played .500 basketball for the remainder of the season, finishing fifth in the Central Division with a 35–47 record. They fell just one game short of making the playoffs. James was named Rookie of The Year and selected to the All-Rookie First Team. Following the season, second-year forward Carlos Boozer signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz.

2003–04 Denver Nuggets season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 28th season for the Denver Nuggets in the National Basketball Association, and their 37th season as a franchise. The season saw the team draft future All-Star Carmelo Anthony with the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. During the offseason, the team signed free agent Andre Miller, and re-signed former Nuggets guard Voshon Lenard. Coming off with the worst record of 17–65 the previous season, Anthony led the Nuggets to a fast start winning 13 of their first 19 games. However, the team struggled down the stretch posting losing records in February and March. The Nuggets finished sixth in the Midwest Division with a 43–39 record, and made the playoffs for the first time since 1995. Anthony had a stellar rookie season averaging 21.0 points per game, and being selected to the All-Rookie First Team. He also finished second behind LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Rookie of The Year voting.

However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Nuggets lost to the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves and league MVP Kevin Garnett in five games.

For the season, the Nuggets changed their logo and uniforms, adding gold and light blue to their color scheme.

2003–04 Detroit Pistons season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 63rd season for the Pistons, the 56th in the National Basketball Association, and the 47th in the Detroit area. Despite a solid year last season, the Pistons received the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, which they obtained from the Memphis Grizzlies. They selected Darko Miličić as their top pick, but only used him as a reserve as he played limited minutes off the bench; he would later be regarded as one of the most infamous busts in the history of the NBA draft. After their first trip to the Conference Finals since 1991, the Pistons hired Larry Brown as head coach. Under Brown, the Pistons were once again a tough defensive team as they went on a 13-game winning streak between December and January. However, after a solid 33–16 start, they struggled in February losing six straight games. At midseason, the team acquired All-Star forward Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks after playing just one game for them. With the addition of Wallace, the Pistons won 16 of their final 19 games finishing second in the Central Division with a 54–28 record. Ben Wallace was selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. The Pistons went on to win the NBA Championship for the third time in franchise history, with Miličić being the youngest player to win said championship.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Pistons defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in five games despite losing Game 2 at home. In the semifinals, they faced the New Jersey Nets who swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals in the previous year. The Pistons would win the first two games at home, but the Nets would put up a fight against the Pistons to take a 3–2 series lead, which included a triple overtime win in Game 5. However, with the Pistons facing elimination, the Pistons were digging an early hole in game 6, but the Pistons were able to erase a 13-2 deficit and never trailed for the remainder of the game as they would refuse to relinquish the lead to the Nets and win game 6 81-75. In game 7 the Pistons stingy defense held Jason Kidd to 0 points to blow out the Nets 90-69 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they defeated the top-seeded Indiana Pacers in a defensive six game series to advance to the NBA Finals. In the Finals, the Pistons would pull of an unbelievable upset by defeating the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers in four games to one, winning their third overall championship and first since 1990. Chauncey Billups was named Finals MVP. Following the season, Corliss Williamson was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, and second-year center Mehmet Okur signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz.

2003–04 Golden State Warriors season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Warriors' 58th season in the National Basketball Association, and 42nd season in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the offseason, the Warriors acquired Nick Van Exel from the Dallas Mavericks, and Clifford Robinson from the Detroit Pistons while signing free agents Calbert Cheaney and Speedy Claxton. The Warriors began to show they were turning the corner as they got off to a 14–13 start. However, as the New Year began, they went on a 7-game losing streak. Despite a nine-game losing streak between February and March, the Warriors would then win seven straight games. However, they yet again missed the playoffs by finishing fifth in the Pacific Division with a 37–45 record. Despite their record, the Warriors were very successful at home posting a 27–14 record at The Arena in Oakland. Following the season, head coach Eric Musselman was fired, Van Exel was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, and Erick Dampier was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as the Warriors were unable to re-sign him.

2003–04 Indiana Pacers season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Pacers' 28th season in the National Basketball Association, and 37th season as a franchise. During the offseason, 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. Also during the offseason, the Pacers acquired Scot Pollard from the Sacramento Kings in a three-team trade and signed free agent Kenny Anderson.

The Pacers got off to a fast start winning 14 of their first 16 games, and finished the season with a record of 61–21, which was worthy of the Eastern Conference first seed in the playoffs, guaranteed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time since 2000, and a new all-time franchise-best win-loss record. Jermaine 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. 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. Both O'Neal and Artest were selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, with Carlisle coaching the Eastern Conference. Second-year guard Fred Jones won the Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Pacers swept the 8th-seeded Boston Celtics 4–0. They proceeded to defeat the 4th-seeded Miami Heat 4–2 in the second round, earning the Pacers their sixth 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 3rd-seeded Detroit Pistons, who were coached by former Pacers coach Larry Brown. Following the season, Al Harrington was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, while Anderson went along with him signing as a free agent with the Hawks.

2003–04 Memphis Grizzlies season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Grizzlies' ninth season in the National Basketball Association, and their third season in Memphis. It was also the final season playing their home games at the Pyramid Arena. They moved into FedExFourm the next season. During the offseason, the Grizzlies signed free agent James Posey. After two unsuccessful seasons ever since they moved to Memphis, the Grizzlies would finally played around .500 holding a 9–8 record as they acquired Bonzi Wells from the Portland Trail Blazers in early December. However, the team struggled posting a 7-game losing streak at the end of the month. Despite this, the Grizzlies continued to played their best basketball posting an 8-game winning streak in January, and winning 13 of their 15 games in March, as they made the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history, finishing fourth in the Midwest Division with a 50–32 record.

Pau Gasol continued to lead the team in scoring, rebounds and blocks, and 70-year old head coach Hubie Brown was named Coach of The Year. However, the Grizzlies lost in the first round of the playoffs, losing four games straight to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

2003–04 Milwaukee Bucks season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Bucks' 36th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bucks acquired Joe Smith from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Under new head coach Terry Porter, the Bucks played around .500 for most of the first half of the season. At midseason, the team traded Tim Thomas to the New York Knicks for Keith Van Horn. The young Bucks managed to play well as Michael Redd, who continued to show improvement had a breakout season averaging 21.7 points per game, while being selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. However, after holding a 33–27 record as of March 3, the Bucks lost eight of their next nine games, but still managed to make the playoffs despite finishing fourth in the Central Division with a 41–41 record. Top draft pick T.J. Ford made the All-Second Rookie Team. However, the Bucks did not make it out of the first round once again, losing to the eventual champions, the Detroit Pistons, in five games.

2003–04 New York Knicks season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 58th season for the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Knicks signed All-Star center Dikembe Mutombo in free agency. The Knicks started the season by losing seven of their first nine games as fans at the Garden chanted "Fire Layden", in reference to general manager Scott Layden. Knicks fans would get their wish as Layden was fired and replaced by former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas.In January, the Knicks traded Antonio McDyess and Charlie Ward to the Phoenix Suns for All-Star guard Stephon Marbury and Anfernee Hardaway. Ward was released by the Suns, and later signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. At midseason, Thomas made more moves, trading Keith Van Horn to the Milwaukee Bucks for Tim Thomas. After a 15–24 start, the Knicks fired head coach Don Chaney, and played one game under assistant Herb Williams before signing Lenny Wilkins as their new coach.With a 39–43 record, which placed them third in the Atlantic Division, the Knicks qualified for the NBA Playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. In the first round, the Knicks were swept in four games by the New Jersey Nets. New York did not return to the playoffs until the 2010–11 season. Following the season, Mutombo was traded to the Chicago Bulls, who then dealt him to the Houston Rockets.

2003–04 Philadelphia 76ers season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 76ers' 65th season, and their 55th in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Sixers acquired All-Star forward Glenn Robinson from the Atlanta Hawks and rookie Kyle Korver, who was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the 2003 NBA draft. After Larry Brown left to become head coach of the Detroit Pistons, the Sixers hired Randy Ayers as his replacement. However, at midseason, Ayers was fired after a 21–31 start, and interim head coach Chris Ford took over for the rest of the season. Superstar guard Allen Iverson had a rough year in which he had clashed with coaches and skipped a number of practices. Despite Iverson playing only 48 games due to injuries, he still was voted to start in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Robinson finished second on the team in scoring averaging 16.6 points per game, but played just 42 games due to ankle and elbow injuries.

The Sixers lost 15 more games than the previous season, finishing fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 33–49 record and missing the playoffs. Following the season, Eric Snow was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Derrick Coleman was traded to the Detroit Pistons.

2003–04 Portland Trail Blazers season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 34th season for the Portland Trail Blazers in the National Basketball Association. After years of off the court troubles and playoff underachieving, the Blazers under new General Manager John Nash, decided to rebuild. Throughout the season, the Blazers dealt away talented but troubled stars like trading Bonzi Wells, after losing his co-captain title, to the Memphis Grizzlies in November, and trading Rasheed Wallace to the Atlanta Hawks for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Theo Ratliff in February. However, after appearing in only one game with the Hawks, Sheed was again traded to the Detroit Pistons for the rest of the season. The Pistons would eventually win the NBA Finals of that year, giving Wallace his first championship. The team also sent Jeff McInnis to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Darius Miles.

Taking up the slack was Zach Randolph, who led the team in scoring and rebounding, and was named Most Improved Player of The Year. However, the Blazers finished third in the Pacific Division with a 41–41 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1981–82 season, a 21-year streak that was second-longest in NBA history. Following the season, Dale Davis was traded to the Golden State Warriors.

2003–04 Sacramento Kings season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Kings' 55th season in the National Basketball Association, and their 19th season in Sacramento. The season was best remembered for the team making a move in the offseason, acquiring Brad Miller from the Indiana Pacers and signing free agent Anthony Peeler. Superstar forward Chris Webber, who spent most of the season recovering from microfracture knee surgery, then serving a suspension due to the Ed Martin scandal, returned for the final 23 games of the season in which they played mediocre basketball the rest of the way.Still, the Kings finished the season second in the Pacific Division with a 55–27 record. Miller and Peja Stojaković were both selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. In the first round of the playoffs, the Kings got the last laugh as they defeated their archrivals the Dallas Mavericks in five games, before falling to Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round as Webber missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in Game 7. This ended the Kings' attempt at a championship as their core would be dismantled the following season, which included Vlade Divac re-signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, Peeler signing with the Washington Wizards, and Gerald Wallace leaving in the 2004 NBA Expansion Draft.

2003–04 Utah Jazz season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the Jazz's 30th in the National Basketball Association. Without their dynamic duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone, not much was expected out of the Jazz entering the season. However, with young stars like Andrei Kirilenko picking up the slack while being selected for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, the Jazz were competitive all season. With the exception of a slump in January and February, the Jazz remained above .500 all season as they battled the Denver Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz finished last place in the Midwest Division with a 42–40 record, and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in twenty-one seasons. However, their 42–40 record was their nineteenth consecutive winning season, which remains by three the all-time National Basketball Association record. Following the season, Greg Ostertag signed as a free agent with the Sacramento Kings.

2004 NBA All-Star Game

The 2004 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game which was played on February 15, 2004 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home of the Lakers and Clippers. This game was the 53rd edition of the North American National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game and was played during the 2003–04 NBA season.

The West defeated the East 136-132, with Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers winning the Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career. O'Neal scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jamaal Magloire led the East with 19 points and 8 rebounds.

List of 2003–04 NBA season transactions

This is a detailed list of transactions during the 2003-04 NBA season.

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