- 2003 NBA Finals
NBA Finals summary
year = 2003
New Jersey Nets
runnerup_coach = Byron Scott
runnerup_games = 2
San Antonio Spurs
champion_games = 4
June 4- June 15
(San Antonio Spurs)
television = ABC (U.S.)
Brad Nessler, Bill Walton, and Tom Tolbert
Dick Bavetta, Joe Crawford, Joe DeRosa
Dan Crawford, Bob Delaney, Bennett Salvatore
referees_3 = Ron Garretson,
Steve Javie, Jack Nies
referees_4 = Mike Callahan,
Bernie Fryer, Eddie F. Rush
Dick Bavetta, Joe Crawford, Bennett Salvatore
Dan Crawford, Bob Delaney, Ron Garretson
ECF result = Nets defeat Pistons, 4-0
WCF result = Spurs defeat Mavericks, 4-2
The 2003 NBA Finals was the championship round of the
2002-03 NBA season. The San Antonio Spursof the Western Conference took on the New Jersey Netsof the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. The Spurs won the series 4 games to 2. Spurs Forward Tim Duncanwas named the Most Valuable Player of the championship series.
Television: ABC (
Brad Nessler, Bill Walton, and Tom Tolbertannouncing)
The 2003 Finals documentary was narrated by
Rodd Houston, who later narrated three other NBA finals series.
The 2002-03 season had already started as a memorable one for the San Antonio Spurs as it was the team's first season in the
basketball-friendly SBC Center. However, as this season was one of beginnings, it was also one of endings. During the season, Spurs star David Robinson announced that this season would be his last. Over the last few seasons, injuries had slowed down Robinson's productivity to the point where he missed 18 games in his final season while averaging only 8.5 points per game. Nevertheless, Robinson would retire holding Spurs franchise career records in points, rebounds, steals and blocks. The Spurs had a very successful season, finishing 60-22, tying for the best record in the NBA that year. The playoffs started off shaky for the Spurs as they lost game 1 of the first-round series against the Phoenix Sunsin overtime. However the Spurs would bounce back to take the series in 6 games. The second round put the Spurs face-to-face with the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. After splitting the first four games, the Spurs eked out a win in game 5, benefitting from a rare last-second in-and-out miss from the Lakers' clutch-shooter Robert Horry(who would help the Spurs win a title two years later). The Spurs would eventually dispose of the Lakers in Game 6, ending the Lakers' championship run. In the Conference Finals, the Spurs would face their in-state nemesis the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs would start off slow again, losing Game 1 by 3 points, but would take control of the series from there, taking the next three straight. After losing Game 5 at home 103-91, the Spurs would come from 15 points down in the fourth quarter in Game 6 as Steve Kerr buried four 3-pointers in a row to take the series in six games with a 79-71 win in Dallas, advancing to their second NBA Finals in franchise history.
In the meantime the
New Jersey Nets, who lost to the Lakers in the Finals the previous year, were out to prove that they were serious title contenders, despite the lack of competition in the Eastern Conference. The Nets would finish the regular season 49-33, good enough for the number 2 seed in the East. After splitting the first four games with the Milwaukee Bucksin the first round, the Nets would take complete control, winning the series in 6 games. From then on, the Nets had no trouble making a return to the NBA Finals, sweeping the Boston Celticsand the Detroit Pistonsto win their second straight Eastern Conference championship.
eries scoring summary
The following scoring summary is written in a
line scoreformat, except that the quarter numbers are replaced by game numbers.
*Game 1 -
June 4Wednesday 8:00pm et @San Antonio [http://www.nba.com/games/20030604/NJNSAS/recap.html San Antonio 101, New Jersey 89] : "San Antonio leads series 1-0"
*Game 2 -
June 6Friday 8:00pm et @San Antonio [http://www.nba.com/games/20030606/NJNSAS/recap.html New Jersey 87, San Antonio 85] : "Series tied 1-1"
*Game 3 -
June 8Sunday 8:00pm, @New Jersey [http://www.nba.com/games/20030608/SASNJN/recap.html San Antonio 84, New Jersey 79] : "San Antonio leads series 2-1"
*Game 4 -
June 11Wednesday 8:00pm, @New Jersey [http://www.nba.com/games/20030611/SASNJN/recap.html New Jersey 77, San Antonio 76] : "Series tied 2-2"
*Game 5 -
June 13Friday 8:00pm et, @New Jersey [http://www.nba.com/games/20030613/SASNJN/recap.html San Antonio 93, New Jersey 83] : "San Antonio leads series 3-2"
*Game 6 -
June 15Sunday 8:00pm et , @San Antonio [http://www.nba.com/games/20030615/NJNSAS/recap.html San Antonio 88, New Jersey 77] : "San Antonio 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.
2003 NBA Finals roster
an Antonio Spurs roster
Gregg Popovich Tim Duncan
Stephen Jackson Malik Rose Tony Parker Emanuel Ginobili Bruce Bowen
Speedy Claxton Kevin Willis Steve Kerr Danny Ferry Devin Brown Anthony Goldwire Mengke Bateer
New Jersey Nets roster
Coach: Byron Scott
Jason Kidd Kenyon Martin Richard Jefferson Kerry Kittles Lucious Harris Rodney Rogers Aaron Williams Dikembe Mutombo Jason Collins Anthony Johnson Brian Scalabrine Tamar Slay Brandon Armstrong
While the series received the usual hype of any Finals, it was not heavily anticipated due to the absence of the Lakers, who had won the previous three finals. The Spurs did have a star in Tim Duncan, but at the time he was criticized as being boring compared to flashier players such as Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
The series was largely centered around the halfcourt offense and defense of each team, with only 1 team breaking 100 points in the series. The Nets constantly double-teamed Tim Duncan, and at one point quadruple-teamed him, allowing him to find open teammate or score over the top of the multiple defenders.
Nets point guard Jason Kidd, second to Tim Duncan in MVP voting during the 2003 season, was in the last year of his contract with the team, leading to speculation that the Spurs (a team that could afford signing him) would pursue him in the free agency following the 2003 Finals despite already having future All-Star Tony Parker on the roster. The underlying story of whether or not Kidd would be in a Spurs uniform the following season continued into the offseason. Kidd would visit San Antonio and speak with team officials, but ultimately resigned with the Nets.
Perhaps the lasting memory of the series is David Robinson retiring a champion. In the clinching game 6, Robinson had 13 points and 17 rebounds to complement Tim Duncan on the inside. In that game, the Spurs trailed at one point 72-63 before going on a 19-0 run to put the game away and take the series.
Impact of the Series
*The great performance by Spurs swingman
Stephen Jacksonled to his eventual parting with the Spurs in the offseason. Other Spurs veterans like guard Steve Kerrand forward Danny Ferry, like David Robinson, would retire after the 2003 Finals.
*Duncan and Robinson would be named Sportsmen of the Year by "
Sports Illustrated" for 2003.
*This series would mark the first time that two ABA teams pitted off against each other in the NBA Finals. in previous years, though, the Spurs made it to the NBA Finals in the shortened 1998-99 NBA Season, and won the championship. The next year, the Indiana Pacers won the Eastern Conference Finals, and lost to the Lakers in six in the Finals.
Continental Airlines Arenahad a unique situation as the series shifted back to New Jersey. As the Spurs and Nets got ready to play Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals, which featured the New Jersey Devils, was going into a 7th and deciding game, which was going to be played at New Jersey. So as soon as Game 3 ended, the arena made a quick turnover to get ready for the next day's deciding Stanley Cup Finals match (and Stanley Cup celebration since the Devils would wind up winning the game), and then back again in time for Game 4 of the NBA Finals the following day.
*In the series clinching game,
Tim Duncancame two blocks shy of a quadruple-double in an NBA Finals match, an extremely rare feat, finishing with 22 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and 8 blocks.
New Jersey, game 4 of this series was not a sell out.
*Steve Kerr joined
Robert Horry, Dennis Rodmanand Ron Harperas the only players to win at least two championships with two franchises. Kerr won three with the Chicago Bulls (1996-98) and another with the Spurs in 1999.
*Duncan became the 7th player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award a second time. He joined the list of
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwonand Shaquille O'Neal.
*Until 2007, This was the lowest rated finals in NBA history.
*This NBA Finals was aired on ABC, after a 30 years of absence for ABC Sports carrying the NBA.
2003 NBA Playoffs
* [http://www.nba.com/finals2003/ 2003 NBA Finals]
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