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2000 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson 4
Indiana Pacers Larry Bird 2
Dates: June 7 - June 19
MVP: Shaquille O'Neal
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Television: NBC (U.S.)
Announcers: Bob Costas and Doug Collins
Referees:
Game 1: Dan Crawford, Jack Nies, Terry Durham
Game 2: Joe Crawford, Bennett Salvatore, Eddie F. Rush
Game 3: Ron Garretson, Bernie Fryer, Hugh Evans
Game 4: Dick Bavetta, Steve Javie, Ronnie Nunn
Game 5: Bennett Salvatore, Jack Nies, Dan Crawford
Game 6: Hugh Evans, Ron Garretson, Joe Crawford
Hall of Famers: Coaches:
Larry Bird (1998, player)
Phil Jackson (2007)
Eastern Finals: Pacers defeat Knicks, 4-2
Western Finals: Lakers defeat Trail Blazers, 4-3
 < 1999 NBA Finals 2001 > 

The 2000 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1999-2000 National Basketball Association season. The Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference took on the Indiana Pacers of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Lakers holding home court advantage. The series is played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to collect four game victories wins the series.

The Lakers won the series 4 games to 2. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal was named the Most Valuable Player of the series. Until 2008, this was the last NBA Finals where both number one seeds from each conference faced off.

Contents

Background

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were one of the most talented teams in the NBA, but despite this, they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA playoffs. Twenty-four days after being swept by the eventual NBA Champion, the Lakers signed Phil Jackson as head coach. Jackson, who coached the 6-time champion Chicago Bulls would build his triangle offense around Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. General Manager Jerry West surrounded Shaq and Kobe with role players such as Glen Rice; Ron Harper, who had experience with Jackson's triangle offense as part of the '96-'98 Chicago Bulls; and A. C. Green, a member of the last two Laker championship teams.

Along with these starters, the Lakers also had a strong bench lineup. Robert Horry has had championship experience with the Houston Rockets, and was a threat at the perimeter as well as a defensive star. Derek Fisher was a point-guard defender who had long range shooting. Rick Fox, who was from the Boston Celtics, was the sixth man of the Lakers. With a healthy Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers dominated the regular season, hitting winning streaks of 11, 16, and 19 en route to a 67-15 record, tying the 1992 Chicago Bulls and 1986 Boston Celtics as the fifth best record in the NBA.

The Lakers were expected to make a trip to the Finals, but the road would be a rocky one. In the first round the Lakers took the first 2 games against the Sacramento Kings, only to drop 2 in Sacramento. The Lakers then easily dispatched Sacramento in Game 5 to face the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers clobbered the Suns, winning the series 4-1 with the only defeat by a massive 30 point margin in Game 4, and would face the Portland Trail Blazers. In Game 1, Rasheed Wallace was ejected because of 2 technical fouls, and the Lakers took advantage and won. The Trail Blazers stormed back in Game 2, giving the Lakers their worst home loss in the season (106-77). This did not affect the Lakers as they took the next 2 in Portland, gaining a 3-1 series lead. The Lakers, however, then underestimated the Trail Blazers, who took the next 2, forcing a Game 7. Much like in the 1991 Western Finals Portland suffered a meltdown as the Lakers rallied back from a 75-60 4th quarter deficit with a 25-4 run en route to the NBA Finals.

Indiana Pacers

In the 1997-1998 NBA season, Chicago Bulls were nearly defeated by the Indiana Pacers in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals, concluding one of the greatest Pacers seasons ever. The 1999 NBA season was a lockout season, where the Pacers would also see their season end at the Eastern Conference Finals, this time to the New York Knicks. The 1999-2000 season would see many changes to the Pacers, including a new arena, the Conseco Fieldhouse. Another change is trading their veteran big man, Antonio Davis for the rights to No. 5 overall pick Jonathan Bender. Jalen Rose would be put into the starting line up, winning the NBA Most Improved Player award, while Austin Croshere replaced him as the sixth man.

The Pacers would start the season 7-7, barely even making a playoff run, but would eventually finish with a 56-26, the best in the east. In the season, the Pacers would win 25 straight in their new arena, a franchise record. The Pacers, like the Lakers, would struggle in the playoffs. They needed a Travis Best three-point clutch play to dispatch the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games. They faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, dispatching them in six games. The Pacers would face their rival Knicks, but unlike the previous year, they ended up victorious. The Pacers would enter the NBA Finals for the first time, to face the Lakers as well as being the second former ABA team to make the NBA Finals.

Series scoring summary

The following scoring summary is written in a line score format, except that the quarter numbers are replaced by game numbers.

Team Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4* Game 5 Game 6 Wins
Los Angeles 104 111 91 120 87 116 4
Indiana 87 104 100 118 120 111 2

* denotes a game that required overtime

2000 NBA Finals Roster

2000 Los Angeles Lakers

Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Shaquille O'Neal | Kobe Bryant | Glen Rice | Ron Harper | Rick Fox | Derek Fisher | John Salley | Robert Horry | A. C. Green | Tyronn Lue | Brian Shaw | Devean George | John Celestand | Travis Knight |

2000 Indiana Pacers

Head Coach: Larry Bird
Reggie Miller | Jalen Rose | Rik Smits | Austin Croshere | Dale Davis | Mark Jackson | Al Harrington | Sam Perkins | Chris Mullin | Jeff Foster | Derrick McKey | Jonathan Bender | Zan Tabak | Travis Best

Schedule

  • Game 1 - June 7, Wednesday @Los Angeles, Los Angeles 104, Indiana 87: Los Angeles leads series 1-0
  • Game 2 - June 9, Friday @Los Angeles, Los Angeles 111, Indiana 104: Los Angeles leads series 2-0
  • Game 3 - June 11, Sunday @Indiana, Indiana 100, Los Angeles 91: Los Angeles leads series 2-1
  • Game 4 - June 14, Wednesday @Indiana, Los Angeles 120, Indiana 118 (OT): Los Angeles leads series 3-1
  • Game 5 - June 16, Friday @Indiana, Indiana 120, Los Angeles 87: Los Angeles leads series 3-2
  • Game 6 - June 19, Monday @Los Angeles, Los Angeles 116, Indiana 111: Los Angeles wins series 4-2

The Finals were played using a 2-3-2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals in 1985. As of yet, the other playoff series are still running on a 2-2-1-1-1 site format.

This was the first time a Finals game was played on a Monday night since the NBA switched to the Wednesday-Friday-Sunday rotation in 1991. In the previous five series ('92-'94, '96, '98) that needed a Game 6, the game was played on a Sunday. In this series, however, the NBA chose to play the game the Monday night after Father's Day.

Game 1

Wednesday, June 7, at the Staples Center

The Lakers dominated from the start. The Lakers shot 15-20 in the first period while the Pacers shot only 7-20. Reggie Miller would miss all of his shots in the first quarter to give the Lakers a 15 point lead. Austin Croshere came off the bench to keep the Pacers alive in the 2nd quarter, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in the quarter. Although the Pacers attempted a comeback in the 2nd quarter, they were still down by 12. In the 3rd quarter, it would be Mark Jackson who led the Pacers to a comeback, cutting the Lakers lead by 2. Reggie Miller also hit his first field goal in the 3rd quarter, though it would be his last. The Lakers destroyed the Pacers in the final quarter, with a 13-2 run winning by 17 points. Shaquille O'neal scored 43 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.

Game 2

Friday, June 9, at the Staples Center

Los Angeles and Indiana were evenly matched for the first period, both scoring 28. But Los Angeles suffered a major setback when Kobe Bryant left the game in the 2nd quarter due to a sprained ankle and did not return. Ron Harper went in for Bryant and scored 21 points for the game. Desperate to try to gain the lead, Larry Bird resorted to the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy. Shaq shot 39 free throws, making only 18, an NBA record for most free throws in a Finals game. Despite this low percentage, Shaq made 9 of 16 in the 4th quarter to keep a Lakers lead. The Pacers cut the lead to 99-96 and were looking to foul Shaq, but when Shaq got the ball he passed to Robert Horry who converted not only the layup, but the foul shot as well giving them a 102-96 lead en route to a 111-104 Laker victory.

Game 3

Sunday, June 11, at the Conseco Fieldhouse

Due to Kobe Bryant's ankle injury, Indiana was able to get back into the series. Kobe's absence was felt as the Pacers had an 11-2 run in the first quarter to take an 8-point lead. Austin Croshere once again had another huge 2nd quarter, scoring 8 points as the Pacers scored 61A%. The Lakers tried to make a run to get back into the game, but once they did Indiana answered with 12 straight points and led by 17. The Lakers were desperate and attempted another run to get within 3 points but Reggie Miller nailed all his free throws at the end of the game to give Indiana a 9-point win.

Game 4

Wednesday, June 14, at the Conseco Fieldhouse

The Pacers took a quick 9-2 lead due to Rik Smits hitting his first four shots. Kobe Bryant attempted to play with his sore ankle, but only managed to score 6 points in the first half. Even though Bryant and O'Neal were in foul trouble in the first half (each picking up number 3 with 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter), Indiana could not take advantage and did not extend their lead. This would be a problem as Kobe Bryant scored 10 points and the Lakers took a 62-60 lead due to a Glen Rice three-pointer. The game remained close going into the fourth quarter, when O'Neal and Reggie Miller scored 14 and 13 points respectively, sending the game into overtime. Midway through overtime, O'Neal comitted his sixth foul but 21-year-old Bryant delivered three clutch shots, as the Lakers were able to overcome back-up center John Salley's inability to effectively defend Smits. Smits and Miller scored all 14 of Indiana's OT points, but it was not enough to overcome as Miller missed a last-second three-pointer to win, and L.A. was able to pull one out in Indianapolis.

Game 5

Friday, June 16, at the Conseco Fieldhouse

Reggie Miller and the Pacers dominated the game from the start in what would be Larry Bird's last game as a coach in Indiana. Reggie Miller came out and made 5 straight shots including a 4-point play. The Pacers would have a 20 point lead in the 2nd quarter, and eventually won by 33 - it was the worst Lakers NBA Finals loss since the 148-114 loss to Boston in the 1985 NBA Finals, known as the "Memorial Day Massacre."

Game 6

Monday, June 19, at the Staples Center

The Pacers came into Game 6 having plenty of confidence in their ability to force a Game 7. Indiana held the lead for much of the game as Reggie Miller, Jalen Rose, and Austin Croshere all connected from three-point range and Dale Davis provided 20 points and 14 rebounds. However, in the 4th quarter, things started to fall apart as Robert Horry provided 8 quick points off the bench and the dynamic duo of Shaq and Kobe took over. The Lakers outscored the Pacers 37-27 in the final period and clinched their 12th NBA title. They would go on to win championships in the next two seasons to become just the fourth franchise to pull off a three-peat.

Trivia

  • The last time the Lakers won the Finals in six games (1987 over Bird's Boston Celtics), they did so in the exact same fashion, by winning games 1 & 2 at home, game 4 on the road and game 6 at home.
  • Lakers' forward A. C. Green was a member of the previous two Lakers championship teams in 1987 and 1988. The 12-year span between titles is an NBA record.
  • Lakers' backup center John Salley became the first player in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning franchises, as he won titles in 1989 and '90 with the Detroit Pistons and 1996 with the Chicago Bulls. Robert Horry has sinced joined him.
  • This was the Lakers first NBA Finals in the new Staples Center.
  • The Lakers clinched all four series at home at the Staples Center.
  • After closing out game 6, fans rioted outside Staples Center by making bonfires, tipping cars, breaking windows of cars and buildings, and vandalizing businesses around the area. Overall, they caused $1 million in damages. In Lakers' championship run the following year, the LAPD came out in bigger force after the Lakers won and prevented the same thing from happening again.
  • Staples Center, which was a first-year building in 2000, had a very tricky shooting background and opposing teams often had difficulty shooting there. Pacers coach Larry Bird wanted to have a shoot-around in the arena the day before Game 6 to help his team shoot more consistently because they shot very poorly in Games 1 and 2. However, the Pacers couldn't practice in the building because of an Arena Football game. Bird was very upset about this, and his team had to go down to the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo.
  • The two arenas in this series, Conseco Fieldhouse and Staples Center, were in their inaugural seasons.
  • The Pacers advanced to their first NBA Finals after losing in the Eastern Conference Finals four times in the previous six seasons (1994, '95, '98, '99).
  • The Pacers are the second former ABA team to play in the NBA Finals, San Antonio played in the Finals the year before.
  • The Lakers had three All-Star most valuable players in Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Rice and Kobe Bryant. Rice won his 1997, O'Neal won three in 2000, 2004 & '09, and Bryant has three of his own in 2002, 2007 & '09.

See also

External links


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