1 2000 Los Angeles Lakers
4 2004 Indiana Pacers
The 2000 Lakers finished with a 67-15 record, the best seen in the entire decade. Definitely making them worthy of a #1 seed in this tournament. The playoffs weren't as easy, but they made it through eventually winning the championship. O'Neal was at his peak and maybe the best player in this entire tournament. Kobe was an all-star but not quite in his prime yet. Nonetheless, they had Rice who was probably the best role-player they had in their 1st 3-peat and could make up for Kobe not being at in his prime yet.
The 2004 Indiana Pacers went 61-21 in the regular season good for the best record in the NBA. They lost in the ECF to the eventual champions Detroit Pistons in a very nice defensive series. They were led by All-Star PF Jermaine OíNeal and All-Star DPOY Ron Artest. Overall a very good defensive team that has many good offensive weapons, will be a tough team to beat.
The Lakers made it through the 1st 2 rounds but it hasnít been easy. They beat Memphis in 6 games in the 1st round while Utah took them all the way to 7 games. The Pacers easily went through Toronto but were challenged in a tough 7 game series against Portland. They trailed 3-0 before coming back and stunning the Blazers. But this shows this Pacer team has heart and can comeback and beat anyone no matter the count. This will be a tough matchup. The Lakers have homecourt advantage and are a tough home team, 6-1 at home in this tournament. The Pacers will need a road win, which they can get. There is no stopping OíNeal, he averaged 29/14 in the 1st round and 30/14 in the 2nd round, but the Pacers have DPOY Ron Artest to take out the Lakerís 2nd biggest weapon Kobe Bryant. Artest did a good job on VC in round 1 and good job on Steve Smith in round 2, if he can find a way to shut down Kobe, the Pacers have a shot at upset.