Retro Rewind: Pistons dominate Lakers in 2004 Finals Game 5

Detroit Pistons Ben Wallace. (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Ben Wallace. (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Detroit Pistons, Chauncey Billups
Former NBA and Pistons coach Chuck Daly congratulates Chauncey Billups #1 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images) /

Reaction & Analysis

There is a lot to hammer home from this game and series. For that reason, here are some categories.

Noteworthy Stats/Facts

  • The 2004 Pistons became the first team from the Eastern Conference to win the NBA Finals without Phil Jackson as the coach since.. the 1990 Pistons.
  • The Lakers third leading scorer in the series was Derek Fisher – who averaged 6.4 points per game.
  • All 5 Pistons starters averaged double figures during the Finals.
  • Best defensive team ever? After acquiring Rasheed, the Pistons allowed 79.7 points per game (49 total games). They also held teams in the playoffs to under 70 points 6 times in 20 total games.
  • Richard Hamilton was leading scorer for the Pistons in the Finals with 21.4 points per game.

Retro Rewind: Larry Bird steals the Pistons Finals hopes. light. Related Story


  • This was Shaq’s last game as a Laker – he was acquired by the Miami Heat in July.
  • This was Karl Malone’s last NBA game. He retired in February of the next season as the NBA’s 2nd all-time leading scorer.
  • The Pistons went on to win 64 games in 2005 and play in the NBA Finals again, this time losing to the Spurs. They went on to make the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006, 2007, and 2008 – losing to the Heat (with Shaq), Cavaliers, and Celtics (coached by Doc Rivers).
  • The parade happened in Detroit:

What aged the best?

  • Kobe. This man is a legend. He just glided when he ran and did not see a shot he didn’t like. It was weird watching him in this game for obvious reasons. I still can’t believe he’s gone.
  • The sounds of Detroit. This is John Mason and the Palace team at their all-time peak. From “Deee-Troit Basketball”, the work whistle, the backboard fire, to the Big Ben gong – the going to work Pistons is an aesthetic I will always cherish.
  • Rip was a joy to watch. The constant off-ball motion and the hanging pull up on the fast break. They just don’t make them like him anymore.
  • Benjamin Cameron Wallace. I knew Big Ben was a force, but this game completely caught me off guard. 18 points, 22 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, and +23 in 41 minutes. The man did not slow down the entire game. Not to mention his afro with pieces of confetti in it. Picture perfect.

What aged the worst?

  • The Lakers supporting cast. There was just no depth around Shaq and Kobe.
  • Shaq’s size. Not sure if this belongs in this category, but it’s worth mentioning that Shaq was huge. This was normally an advantage for him, but the Pistons used their speed and quickness to easily combat it.
  • Darko Milcic. He checked into the game and immediately got roasted by the announcers for having white tape covering his newly pierced ears. What a woeful decision for the 18-year-old who was are going to be on TV for the world to see.

Final Thoughts

What a game. What a team. It was fun to revisit this squad, even if just for a few hours. A lot of Pistons fans would echo this same sentiment.

Next. The Pistons need to save their money this summer. dark

When will the Pistons be this fun again?