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The 2004 NBA Playoffs were the postseason of the National Basketball Association's 2003–04 season. Consisting of 16 teams in two conferences, the playoffs involved about two months of play. The playoffs were conducted in seven-game series, with the team with the better record holding home court advantage. The Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA Playoffs by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one in the NBA Finals.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, after missing the playoffs their first seven seasons and losing in the first round the next seven years, won their first two playoff series in 2004 before falling to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

The Indiana Pacers made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since their NBA Finals run in 2000, after which they significantly changed the makeup of their team (yet continued to make the playoffs every year). Reggie Miller's clutch three-point shooting wasn't enough.

The 2004 playoffs marked the first postseason appearance for the Memphis Grizzlies in their nine-year history which began as the Vancouver Grizzlies.

2004 also saw the Utah Jazz missing the playoffs for the first time since 1983. The Portland Trail Blazers missed the playoffs after qualifying the previous 21 seasons.

This was the first playoff appearance for the Denver Nuggets since the 1994–95 season.

2004 also marked the first time in 14 years that all Texas teams made the playoffs, and the second time (first in 10 years) that all former ABA teams made the playoffs.


Playoff qualifying

Eastern Conference

Best record in NBA

The Indiana Pacers clinched the best record in the NBA, and had home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Indiana Pacers (clinched Central division)
  2. New Jersey Nets (clinched Atlantic division)
  3. Detroit Pistons
  4. Miami Heat
  5. New Orleans Hornets
  6. Milwaukee Bucks
  7. New York Knicks
  8. Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Best record in conference

The Minnesota Timberwolves clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. However, when Minnesota lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers gained home court advantage for the NBA Finals because the Lakers posted a better regular season record at 56-26 than the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons at 54-28.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (clinched Midwest division)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (clinched Pacific division)
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. Houston Rockets
  8. Denver Nuggets

Eastern Conference

Champion: Detroit Pistons

First Round

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Boston Celtics:Pacers win series 4–0

(2) New Jersey Nets vs. (7) New York Knicks:Nets win series 4–0

(3) Detroit Pistons vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks:Pistons win series 4–1

(4) Miami Heat vs. (5) New Orleans Hornets:Heat win series 4–3

Conference Semifinals

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (4) Miami Heat:Pacers win series 4–2

(2) New Jersey Nets vs. (3) Detroit Pistons:Pistons win series 4–3

Conference Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Detroit Pistons:Pistons win series 4–2

Western Conference

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

First Round

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (8) Denver Nuggets:Timberwolves win series 4–1

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Houston Rockets:Lakers win series 4–1

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Memphis Grizzlies:Spurs win series 4–0

(4) Sacramento Kings vs. (5) Dallas Mavericks:Kings win series 4–1

Conference Semifinals

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (4) Sacramento Kings:Timberwolves win series 4–3

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) San Antonio Spurs:Lakers win series 4–2

Conference Finals

(1) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers:Lakers win series 4–2

NBA Finals

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Detroit Pistons:Pistons win series, 4–1

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