The 2004 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 2003–04 National Basketball Association season.
This Finals was contested between the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference and the Detroit Pistons of the Eastern Conference; home court edge was held by the Lakers. The series was played under a best-of-seven arrangement.
Although the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, were considered the heavy favorites, the Pistons handily won the series in five games. This win marked the Pistons’ fifth win complete as a franchise as well as its first title as the 1990-1991 NBA season; nearly fifteen decades. The show finally featured the perceived underdog Pistons, controlling a Lakers team composed of four future Hall of Famers.
Pistons’ owner William Davidson became the first owner in American sport history to win two championships in one calendar year; eight days before, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League had won the Stanley Cup Finals in seven games over the Calgary Flames.
The Lakers had won three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002, but lost to the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals at 2003 to finish their streak at three. The Spurs beat the Lakers in 6 games.
The Lakers made significant alterations, with initially varying results. Hoping to find a point guard and a power forward to shield against Tim Duncan and the Spurs, the Lakers signed veteran stars Gary Payton and Karl Malone for well below market value; they also expected to provide both veterans their first championship ring. The Lakers were later considered the favorites to win the NBA title.
Throughout the regular season, after beginning the year 18–3, the Lakers were afflicted by numerous injuries and stumbled to a 56–26 record to complete the season with the second seed in the Western Convention.
The Lakers breezed past their first-round competition, the Houston Rockets, headlining a matchup between Shaquille O’Neal and a young Yao Ming, beating the group 4-1 but then lost the first two matches in their series against the Spurs prior to a dramatic comeback which saw them win 4–2.  Subsequently they confronted league MVP Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers won the series 4–2 to advance to the Finals. 
Read more: last3seconds.com