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2003-04 Season

Record: 56-26, first place in Pacific Division

The Lakers acquired Gary Payton and Karl Malone in the off-season, giving the team two more future Hall-of-Famers to play alongside Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in what many considered the greatest starting lineup in NBA history.

The Lakers began the season 20-5 before losing Malone to a knee injury that kept him sidelined for 39 games. The Lakers won 14 of their final 17 regular-season games and seemed ready to win the NBA title that most had all-but-handed them before the season. The Lakers clinched their 18th Pacific Division title on the last day of the season with a 105-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, thanks to buzzer-beating three-pointers by Kobe Bryant, the first to send the game to overtime and the second for the win in double-overtime.

Playoffs: The Lakers cruised to the NBA Finals, but more than met its match in Detroit, which didn't seem too impressed by all the hype and defeated the Lakers in five games. Most memorable playoff moment: Derek Fisher scoring with 0.4 seconds left for a Game 5 win over San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals.

Playoff Results


Western Conference first round


  • at Lakers 72, Houston 71

  • at Lakers 98, Houston 84

  • at Houston 102, Lakers 91

  • Lakers 92, at Houston 88 (OT)

  • at Lakers 97, Houston 78



Western Conference semifinals


  • at San Antonio 88, Lakers 78

  • at San Antonio 95, Lakers 85

  • at Lakers 105, San Antonio 81

  • at Lakers 98, San Antonio 90

  • Lakers 74, at San Antonio 73

  • at Lakers 88, San Antonio 76




Western Conference finals


  • Lakers 97, at Minnesota 88

  • at Minnesota 89, Lakers 71

  • at Lakers 100, Minnesota 89

  • at Lakers 92, Minnesota 85

  • at Minnesota 98, Lakers 96

  • at Lakers 96, Minnesota 90



NBA Finals


  • Detroit 87, at Lakers 75

  • at Lakers 99, Detroit 91 (OT)

  • at Detroit 88, Lakers 68

  • at Detroit 88, Lakers 80

  • at Detroit 100, Lakers 87


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