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2004–05 NBA season

2004–05 NBA season

The 2004–05 NBA season was the 59th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). It began on November 2, 2004 and ended June 23, 2005. The season ended with the San Antonio Spurs defeating the defending-champion Detroit Pistons, 4–3, in the NBA Finals.

2004–05 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationNovember 2, 2004 – April 20, 2005
April 23 – June 6, 2005 (Playoffs)
June 9–23, 2005 (Finals)
Number of games82
Number of teams30
TV partner(s)ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV
Top draft pickDwight Howard
Picked byOrlando Magic
Regular season
Top seedPhoenix Suns
Season MVPSteve Nash (Phoenix)
Top scorerAllen Iverson (Philadelphia)
Eastern championsDetroit Pistons
  Eastern runners-upMiami Heat
Western championsSan Antonio Spurs
  Western runners-upPhoenix Suns
ChampionsSan Antonio Spurs
  Runners-upDetroit Pistons
Finals MVPTim Duncan (San Antonio)

Notable occurrences

  • The NBA made its return to Charlotte as the Charlotte Bobcats became the league's 30th franchise at the time. Ten years later, the Bobcats and the departed New Orleans Hornets would strike a deal with the New Orleans franchise renaming themselves the Pelicans, thereby restoring the Hornets' Charlotte history and name to the Charlotte franchise. The Bobcats played their first season at the Charlotte Coliseum.

  • This season also was the first year of the NBA's new divisional alignments, separating the league into six divisions of five teams instead of the previous four divisions of varying numbers of teams. As part of this realignment, the New Orleans Hornets moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference.[1]

  • The current schedule format also debuted this season: 16 games against teams in the same division (four against each team) 24 games against six of the remaining conference teams combined, three from each division (four against each team) 12 games against the remaining four conference teams, two from each division (three against each team) 30 games against teams in the other conference (two against each team) Over five seasons, each team will play each of the other conference teams outside its division a total of 18 times – 9 at home and 9 on the road.

  • In February, Chris Webber was traded from the Sacramento Kings along with Michael Bradley to the Philadelphia 76ers for three forwards (Corliss Williamson, Kenny Thomas, and Brian Skinner). The Kings lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Seattle SuperSonics, 4–1, and failed to make the playoffs after 2006.

  • The 2005 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 20, 2005, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, with the East winning, 125–115. Philadelphia's Allen Iverson was named the MVP of the game.

  • During All-Star Weekend, Quentin Richardson won the Three-point Shootout, Steve Nash won the Skills Challenge, and Diana Taurasi, Dan Majerle and Shawn Marion won the Shooting Stars Competition—all Phoenix Suns victories. Amar'e Stoudemire made it to the final round of the Slam Dunk Contest but failed to complete the sweep for the Suns.

  • Prior to the start of this season, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after his reported fallout with former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Some fans sensed this, along with the Pistons championship, as a possible end of dominance by the Western Conference. The Lakers also witnessed the loss of head coach Phil Jackson and replacement Rudy Tomjanovich as the Lakers missed out on the NBA playoffs for the fifth time in their history. However, the Western Conference has continued its domination in the regular season; since then, all playoff-bound teams in the West have either won 50 or more games, or were above .500 at the end of the season, in contrast to the Eastern Conference, where on average, three teams have had sub-.500 records.

  • During the off-season, the Phoenix Suns signed unrestricted free agent Steve Nash. With the addition of coach Mike D'Antoni and his offensive-minded strategy combined with Nash's play-making skills, Phoenix won 33 games more than the year before. The Suns had the best overall record in the NBA, Nash won the MVP Award and D'Antoni won the Coach of the Year Award.

  • The Memphis Grizzlies played their first game at FedExForum. The Grizzlies were also the first NBA team to install see-through shot clocks. As of the 2011–12 NBA season, all 30 teams have see-through shot clocks.

  • An early regular-season game between Detroit and Indiana at The Palace of Auburn Hills was disrupted with 45.9 seconds to go as a major altercation broke out between players and fans. This resulted in record-breaking suspensions, most notable of which was Ron Artest who received the longest suspension in NBA history (73 games plus the playoffs). The NBA also overhauled its league-wide security policy. This became known as "The Malice at the Palace".

  • The Bulls made their first appearance in the playoffs since their 1998 championship season. The Bulls postseason berth followed an 0–9 start to the season with the Bulls having one of the youngest rosters in NBA history.

  • The Washington Wizards made their first appearance in the playoffs since the team name was changed for the 1997–98 season.

  • The Suns started an unofficial league tradition of a mostly exposed hardwood floor, with a darker varnish on the outside of the three-point area. They also put their team's website name on the sideline, which other teams followed suit in the coming seasons. Through the 2010–11 NBA season, all of the teams, save the Oklahoma City Thunder, had placed their team websites on the sidelines.

  • The Seattle SuperSonics made the playoffs for the last time as a team from Seattle.

  • Ben Gordon won the Sixth Man Award, making him the first rookie to ever win the award.

  • The NBA Finals reached seven games for the first time since 1994, when the Houston Rockets faced the New York Knicks.

  • On December 18, the Toronto Raptors traded five-time all-star Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning and a pair of first-round draft picks. Mourning was bought out of his contract on February 11 and re-signed with the Miami Heat, being paid a second salary, the veteran's minimum.

  • Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard became the first and only player straight out of high school to start all 82 games in his rookie season. He also became the youngest to average a double-double, the youngest to average 10 rebounds in a season, and the youngest to record at least 20 rebounds in a game. However, Charlotte Bobcats rookie Emeka Okafor won Rookie of the Year that season.

  • This was the final season for Reggie Miller, who spent his entire NBA career with the Pacers.

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves did not make an appearance in the playoffs, which then started a 13-season playoff drought.

Coaching changes

Team2003–04 coach2004–05 coach
Atlanta HawksTerry StottsMike Woodson
Boston CelticsJohn CarrollDoc Rivers
Charlotte BobcatsExpansionBernie Bickerstaff
Golden State WarriorsEric MusselmanMike Montgomery
Los Angeles LakersPhil JacksonRudy Tomjanovich
New Orleans HornetsTim FloydByron Scott
Philadelphia 76ersChris FordJim O'Brien
Toronto RaptorsKevin O'NeillSam Mitchell
TeamOutgoing coachIncoming coach
Cleveland CavaliersPaul SilasBrendan Malone
Dallas MavericksDon NelsonAvery Johnson
Denver NuggetsJeff BzdelikMichael Cooper
Michael CooperGeorge Karl
Los Angeles LakersRudy TomjanovichFrank Hamblen
Memphis GrizzliesHubie BrownLionel Hollins
Lionel HollinsMike Fratello
Minnesota TimberwolvesFlip SaundersKevin McHale
New York KnicksLenny WilkensHerb Williams
Orlando MagicJohnny DavisChris Jent
Portland Trail BlazersMaurice CheeksKevin Pritchard

Final standings

By division

By conference


  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs

  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs

  • x – Clinched playoff spot

  • y – Clinched division title


Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

First RoundConference SemifinalsConference FinalsNBA Finals
E8New Jersey0
Eastern Conference
W2San Antonio4
Western Conference
W2San Antonio*4
W2San Antonio4
W2San Antonio4
  • Division winner Bold Series winner Italic Team with home-court advantage

Statistics leaders

Points per gameAllen IversonPhiladelphia 76ers30.7
Rebounds per gameKevin GarnettMinnesota Timberwolves13.5
Assists per gameSteve NashPhoenix Suns11.5
Steals per gameLarry HughesWashington Wizards2.89
Blocks per gameAndrei KirilenkoUtah Jazz3.32
FG%Shaquille O'NealMiami Heat.600
FT%Reggie MillerIndiana Pacers.933
3FG%Fred HoibergMinnesota Timberwolves.483


Yearly awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

  • Rookie of the Year: Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats

  • Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons

  • Sixth Man of the Year: Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls

  • Most Improved Player: Bobby Simmons, Los Angeles Clippers

  • Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni, Phoenix Suns

  • Executive of the Year: Bryan Colangelo, Phoenix Suns

  • Sportsmanship Award: Grant Hill, Orlando Magic

Players of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.

MonthEastern ConferenceWestern Conference
October – NovemberLeBron James(Cleveland Cavaliers) (1/2)Steve Nash(Phoenix Suns) (1/1)
DecemberDwyane Wade(Miami Heat) (1/1)Dirk Nowitzki(Dallas Mavericks) (1/2)
JanuaryLeBron James(Cleveland Cavaliers) (2/2)Chris Webber(Sacramento Kings) (1/1)
FebruaryVince Carter(New Jersey Nets) (1/1)Dirk Nowitzki(Dallas Mavericks) (2/2)
MarchShaquille O'Neal(Miami Heat) (1/1)Kevin Garnett(Minnesota Timberwolves) (1/1)
AprilAllen Iverson(Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)Amar'e Stoudemire(Phoenix Suns) (1/1)

Rookies of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month.

MonthEastern ConferenceWestern Conference
October – NovemberEmeka Okafor(Charlotte Bobcats) (1/3)Devin Harris(Dallas Mavericks) (1/1)
DecemberEmeka Okafor(Charlotte Bobcats) (2/3)Beno Udrih(San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
JanuaryBen Gordon(Chicago Bulls) (1/3)J. R. Smith(New Orleans Hornets) (1/3)
FebruaryBen Gordon(Chicago Bulls) (2/3)J. R. Smith(New Orleans Hornets) (2/3)
MarchBen Gordon(Chicago Bulls) (3/3)J. R. Smith(New Orleans Hornets) (3/3)
AprilEmeka Okafor(Charlotte Bobcats) (3/3)Shaun Livingston(Los Angeles Clippers) (1/1)

Coaches of the month

The following coaches were named the Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month.

MonthEastern ConferenceWestern Conference
October – NovemberJohnny Davis(Orlando Magic) (1/1)Nate McMillan(Seattle SuperSonics) (1/1)
DecemberStan Van Gundy(Miami Heat) (1/2)Mike D'Antoni(Phoenix Suns) (1/1)
JanuaryScott Skiles(Chicago Bulls) (1/1)Mike Fratello(Memphis Grizzlies) (1/1)
FebruaryLarry Brown(Detroit Pistons) (1/1)George Karl(Denver Nuggets) (1/2)
MarchStan Van Gundy(Miami Heat) (2/2)George Karl(Denver Nuggets) (2/2)
AprilLawrence Frank(New Jersey Nets) (1/1)Avery Johnson(Dallas Mavericks) (1/1)


Citation Linkwww.nba.com"NBA Approves Realignment for 2004–05 Season". NBA.com. November 17, 2003. Retrieved November 17, 2003.
Sep 26, 2019, 12:27 AM
Citation Linkwww.nba.com"NBA Approves Realignment for 2004–05 Season"
Sep 26, 2019, 12:27 AM
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Sep 26, 2019, 12:27 AM