According to the 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, the Detroit Pistons used their lack of unity to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
While appearing on ALL THE SMOKE, Billups shared that despite being a less talented team, the Pistons played in the Lakers’ locker room woes:
“It wasn’t about talent. We didn’t have the best talent in the series. We had the best team and we played like that. You know, back then, Kobe didn’t win MVP in the finals. He’s always been shack. We know they have That little thing and we really played with that.”
Billups went on to discuss the Pistons’ strategy, adding:
“We locked Kobe, Kobe was really frustrated because we lock him up. We played Shaq man-to-man. Shaq got 35 and 18, but we kept him grounded because we go for it. Our game plan was really good. We played with them. Psych. They didn’t really leave the GP Or Karl Malone, and he didn’t throw them the ball, and they didn’t let them do anything. You know what the triangle was like. We had to worry about Kobe, worry about Shaq, everyone else and we just stay close. They didn’t have freedom. We had a lot of guns.” .
The 2004 Finals remains one of the most surprising upsets in NBA history. Along with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers Gary Payton and Karl Malone entered the season. While the two players were past their prime, many felt the Lakers were the favorites.
Watch Chauncey Billups discuss Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and the 2004 NBA Finals below (starting at the 37:10 mark):
Are Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal the best duo ever?
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal spent eight seasons as teammates, appearing in four tournaments and winning three. Bryant will make up six All-Star teams in the period, while O’Neal makes seven. Bryant was also selected to six All-NBA teams, while O’Neal was selected to the All-NBA team throughout his eight years with the Lakers. Kobe will also make up five All-Defensive teams, while O’Neal has made three. O’Neill will also win the MVP award.
Despite the long list of accomplishments, there are still many questions about what could have been. If the duo stay together, they will likely overtake fellow Lakers duo Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson as the greatest duo ever.
Relive the Lakers’ Western Conference Game 7 Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, culminating in Kobe Bryant’s legendary alley to Shaquille O’Neal: