I believe Jermaine O'Neal had a knee injury himself in the '04 ECF. I think that Detroit was a better team anyway in hindsight, and better than I realized at the time.
The Lakers were really dysfunctional though and if we're still assuming Malone is injured then it'd be really tough for the Lakers, but if Malone is healthy then I'd take the '04 Lakers over '04 Pacers.
Originally Posted by kennethgriffin
larry brown said he was gonna let shaq get his and shut down everyone else
back when they won titles it was about kobe and shaq playing off each other..
they collapsed on kobe the entire series.. forcing him to take tough shots over 2-3 defenders.. shaq can only do so much
people always acted like shaq was frozen out by kobe... the dude averaged like 30ppg
after shaq.. where do you get the other 70 points you need to win?
payton was garbage... malone was injured. kobe was tripled all night.
larry brown beat the lakers.... and it all worked out best in the end for kobe. because losing in 2004 gave him a chance to make his own career without shaq
Kobe wasn't tripled all night. Shaq was indeed guarded with single coverage most of the time, but Kobe also was missing a lot of those long jumpers vs single coverage.
You are correct to point out that Malone was injured and Payton was garbage in the series(and playoffs), and generally a poor fit in the offense despite being a capable player through the regular season.
Billups averaging 21 ppg on 50% shooting while Payton averaged 4 ppg on 32% is hard to believe, and a hard thing to overcome.