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NBA Finals Notes




/ June 16, 2004

*The Detroit Pistons won their third NBA Championship, alongside the titles they won in 1989 and 1990. . .Two of the Pistonsí three Championships have been earned with Finals victories over the Los Angeles Lakers (in 1989 and 2004). . .Detroit defeated Portland for the title in 1990.

*M-V-P: Detroitís Chauncey Billups, who averaged 21.0 ppg on 29-57 FGA (.509) in The Finals, was named 2004 NBA Finals MVP. . .The Voting: In the media voting, Billups gained six votes, Ben Wallace three and Rip Hamilton one. . .Fans were able to cast their votes for Finals MVP on, which counted for one-tenth of the total vote. . .Billups became the first player to win NBA Finals MVP before he was an All-Star since Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars (Finals MVP in 1989, All-Star in 1990).

*East is East: Detroitís victory snapped a five-year Finals winning streak for the Western Conference (three titles for the Lakers, two for San Antonio). . .Detroit became the first Eastern Conference team to win the NBA title since the 1998 Chicago Bulls (coached by Phil Jackson).

*Home Cooking: Pistons became the first home team to sweep the middle three games since the NBA Finals went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985. . .Pistons also became just the fifth team since the current NBA Playoff setup went into effect in 1984 to win the NBA crown without having homecourt advantage in The Finals, joining the 1985 Lakers, 1993 Bulls, 1995 Rockets and 1998 Bulls.

*Worth the Wait for Elden: In his 14th pro season, Detroitís Elden Campbell won his first NBA Championship. Last season, San Antonioís Kevin Willis won his first title in his 19th season, an NBA record (that includes the 1988-89 season, which Willis missed due to injury). . .Jerome Kersey won his first title in his 15th season (1999 Spurs), while Mitch Richmond, like Campbell, earned his first championship ring in his 14th campaign (2002 Lakers).

*And for Larry, too: In his 21st season as an NBA head coach, Larry Brown won his first League Championship. . .Thatís the longest any NBA head coach has gone until winning his first title. Red Auerbach (1957 Celtics) and Bill Fitch (1981 Celtics) both won their first titles in their 11th seasons as a head coach. . .In addition to 21 years as an NBA headmaster, Larry also coached four additional seasons in the old ABA. . .Brown also becomes the first head coach to win both NBA and NCAA (Kansas 1988) Championships, and the 12th head coach in NBA history to win a title in his first season with a franchise.

*Championship Trifecta: Detroitís triumph in the 2004 Finals caps an amazing 10-month span for managing partner William Davidson, whose Pistons, Shock (2003 WNBA Champions) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2004 Stanley Cup Champions) all won their leagueís respective championships.

*Sharp Shooting: Pistons shot .461 (35-76 FGA) in tonightís clinching victory, including a blistering .606 (20-33 FGA) in the first half. . .Pistons reached the 100+ point mark for the fourth time in the 2004 post-season.

*DEE-FENSE: Pistonsí defense was the keynote to their championship drive. . .For the 2004 Playoffs, Detroit averaged 80.7 ppg allowed (actually 80.696), an all-time post-shot clock NBA Playoff mark. . .Here are the three best post-clock defensive figures for an entire Playoff year (thanks, Elias Sports Bureau):

*80.696 (Detroit 2004; 1,856 pts allowed, 23 games)
*80.7 (Miami 2000; 807 pts allowed, 10 games)
*81.1 (Indiana 2004; 1,297 pts allowed, 16 games)

*Pistons allowed 81.8 ppg in The Finals, the third-best Finals opposition ppg figure of the post-shot clock era. . .The top three defensive Finals figures since the inception of the shot clock:

*79.8 (San Antonio, 1999; 399 pts allowed, five games)
*80.2 (Chicago 1998; 481 pts allowed, six games)
*81.8 (Detroit 2004; 409 pts allowed, five games)

*Mailman Sidelined: Karl Malone (DND, strained right MCL) missed the first post-season game of his 19-year NBA career. . .Until tonight, The Mailman had played in 193 career post-season games (all starts) without a miss. . .After playing in 172 post-season games with Utah, heíd appeared in all 21 Playoff games for the Lakers until tonight. . .Malone has advanced to the post-season in each of his 19 NBA seasons.

*Slava Medvedenko (10) and Derek Fisher (10) notched the first double-figure scoring game for a Laker in The Finals aside from Shaquille OíNeal and Kobe Bryant. . .Shaq and Kobe scored 246 of the Lakersí 409 points (60.1%) in The Finals.

*Among the All-Timers: Over the course of the 2004 Playoffs, Shaquille OíNeal and Karl Malone moved up on the all-time NBA career Playoff lists in several categories. . .As the Playoffs conclude, hereís where Shaq and the Mailman stood in all-time Playoff. . .

YEARS: Malone played in his 19th Playoff season, tying former teammate John Stockton for the top spot all-time
GAMES: 1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 237; 2. Scottie Pippen 208; T3. Karl Malone 193; T3. Danny Ainge 193
POINTS: 1. Michael Jordan 5,987; 2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 5,762; 3. Karl Malone 4,761; 4. Jerry West 4,457; 5. Shaquille O’Neal 4,294
FGM: 1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 2,356; 2. Michael Jordan 2,188; 3. Karl Malone 1,743; 4. Shaquille O’Neal 1,658
FTM: 1. Michael Jordan 1,463; 2. Karl Malone 1,269
FTA: Shaquille O’Neal moved into the top spot all-time with 1,889 career Playoff FTA.
REBOUNDS: 1. Bill Russell 4,104; 2. Wilt Chamberlain 3,913; 3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 2,481; 4. Karl Malone 2,062; 5. Shaquille O’Neal 2,040
BLOCKS: 1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 476; 2. Hakeem Olajuwon 472; 3. Shaquille O’Neal 374
FG PCT: O’Neal’s .562 (1658-2951 FGA) is sixth all-time
FINALS FG PCT: O’Neal’s .601 (306-509 FGA) is first in Finals history
FINALS 3PT FGM: Derek Fisher’s 31 3PT FGM are fourth-best in Finals history, behind Michael Jordan (42), Robert Horry (38) and Michael Cooper (35).

*Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is now 8-5 all-time in potential elimination games (4-3 with Chicago, 4-2 with the Lakers). . .Jackson was thwarted in his quest for his tenth NBA Championship (heís tied for first place among all-time NBA coaches with Red Auerbach with nine titles).

*After winning Game Two in OT, the Lakers didnít lead by more than seven points in any of the three Games at Detroit (Pistons led Game Three wire-to-wire, Lakers led by as many as four in the Game Four loss and by as many as seven tonight).

*Gary Payton scored single-figure points in each of his last eight Playoff games, notching 5.3 ppg (42) in that span. . .During the regular season, The Glove didnít have more than two straight single-digit point games.


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