2002 NBA Finals
|Dates:||June 5 – 12|
(Los Angeles Lakers)
|Announcers:||Marv Albert, Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones|
|Announcers:||Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay|
|Game 1: Joe Crawford, Ron Garretson and Jack Nies|
|Game 2: Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore and Don Vaden|
|Game 3: Dick Bavetta, Dan Crawford and Bob Delaney|
|Game 4: Ted Bernhardt, Bernie Fryer and Eddie F. Rush|
|Hall of Famers:||Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
|Eastern Finals:||Nets defeated Celtics 4–2|
|Western Finals:||Lakers defeated Kings 4–3|
The 2002 NBA Finals was the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship series for the 2001–02 season. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Los Angeles Lakers, champions of the Western Conference and two-time defending NBA champions, and the New Jersey Nets, champions of the Eastern Conference. The Lakers swept the Nets, four games to none, to win the franchise's 14th NBA championship. The 56th edition of the championship series was played between June 5 and June 12 and was broadcast on NBC.
Shaquille O'Neal, who averaged 36 points and 12 rebounds in the Finals, was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.1 Lakers coach Phil Jackson won his ninth ring, tying him with Red Auerbach for most all-time.2 During the series, he surpassed Pat Riley for most career playoffs wins with 156.2
Will Lyman narrated the season-ending documentary for NBA Entertainment.
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Road Team|
|Game 1||Wednesday, June 5||Los Angeles Lakers||99-94 (1-0)||New Jersey Nets|
|Game 2||Friday, June 7||Los Angeles Lakers||106-83 (2-0)||New Jersey Nets|
|Game 3||Sunday, June 9||New Jersey Nets||103-106 (0-3)||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Game 4||Wednesday, June 12||New Jersey Nets||107-113 (0-4)||Los Angeles Lakers|
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.
Game 1 - 18,997
Game 2 - 18,997
Game 3 - 19,215
Game 4 - 19,296
|March 5||Recap||New Jersey Nets 92, Los Angeles Lakers 101||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California||FSN West,
FSN New York
|April 2||Recap||Los Angeles Lakers 92, New Jersey Nets 94||Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey||KCAL,
FSN New York
Entering the 2001–02 season, the New Jersey Nets were enduring a three-year playoff drought and had a 73–141 record over that span. In 1999, the Nets hired Rod Thorn as team president and immediately, he hired the recently retired Byron Scott to coach New Jersey. Thorn then dealt for Stephon Marbury in a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves, trading Sam Cassell away to the Bucks.3 Due to the Nets' 31–51 season in 1999–00 season, they had the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, which they used to select power forward Kenyon Martin out of the University of Cincinnati.4 Despite the reshuffling of the roster and a Rookie of the Year season for Martin, New Jersey struggled, ending the season with a 26–56 (.317) record, and were bestowed the 7th pick in the upcoming Draft.
With another lottery pick, Thorn dealt it to the Houston Rockets for draftees Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong.3 The next day, Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo announced a franchise-shaking trade; Phoenix would swap their point guard Jason Kidd for his New Jersey counterpart Stephon Marbury.5
With the Princeton offense installed from the coaching staff,6 the Nets rebounded to a 52–30 (.634) mark, a twenty-six-win improvement from the last season, and clinched the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference. Kidd finished the season awarded with first team spots on both the All-NBA and7 and All-Defensive Teams8 and was selected for his fifth All-Star game. He also finished runner-up to San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan in the Most Valuable Player voting.9 Richard Jefferson was an All-Rookie second team selection and Thorn, the architect of the franchise's resurgence, was awarded NBA Executive of the Year.10
In the first round of the playoffs, New Jersey survived a scare against the Indiana Pacers, escaping game five in double overtime to advance.11 It was the Nets' first playoff series win since 1984. They then dismissed the Charlotte Hornets in five games before meeting their Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Celtics, in the Conference Finals.12 The Nets and Celtics split the first two games in New Jersey before moving to Boston. In Game 3, New Jersey were dominating the Celtics, leading by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter. However, Boston, led by small forward Paul Pierce, then proceeded to outscore New Jersey 41–16 in the final period, rallying to win 94 to 90. Pierce himself scored 19 points, more than the Nets combined in the fourth, to complete the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history.1314
The Nets rebounded in a 94–92 Game 4 victory, that saw another Boston comeback, albeit one that fell short because Pierce missed crucial free throws late.15 New Jersey then took control of the series and won the next two games in large fashion to finish off Boston in six games, earning the franchise's first NBA Finals appearance and becoming the third former American Basketball Association (ABA) team to make the Finals (the Spurs and the Pacers being the first two).16 With averages of 17.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per game during the six-game Conference Finals, Kidd become only the fourth player in NBA history to average a triple-double over a course of a series and the second to have at least three.1718
In stark contrast to New Jersey, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the season with high expectations, having won the last two NBA championships. In addition, Los Angeles was coming off of a 15–1 (.938 winning percentage) run through the 2001 NBA Playoffs, the greatest in NBA history, besting the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers' 12–1 (.923) run and were the first team to go undefeated on the road in the playoffs.19 Since Phil Jackson had arrived to coach the Lakers in 1999, they had a 123–41 mark in the regular season and a 28–9 record in the postseason.
Amid tensions between co-captains Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the franchise had another stellar season, finishing 58–24 (.707), good for second in the Pacific Division and earning the third seed in the Western Conference. Bryant and O'Neal were voted starters in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, where Bryant won the game MVP trophy in his hometown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.20 The duo appeared on the All-NBA First Team and Bryant was honored with a Second-Team All-Defensive Team selection.78
The Lakers shot out to another quick start in the playoffs, finishing the Portland Trail Blazers in three games with a Robert Horry game-winner.21 The San Antonio Spurs were dispatched in five games before Los Angeles met their biggest challenge in the duration of their championship reign in the Western Conference Finals: the Sacramento Kings. With the best record in the West, the Kings held home court advantage against the Lakers and split the first two games in ARCO Arena before the series shifted to Staples Center, where Sacramento blew out Los Angeles in Game 3 and led as much as 27 before settling with a 103–90 decision.22
Game 4 did not give the Lakers any more hope, as Sacramento led Los Angeles 40–20 at the end of the first quarter and held a lead as large as 26. But, the Lakers staged a furious second-half comeback to win 100–99, punctuated by Horry's buzzer-beating three-pointer shot.23 Back in Sacramento for Game 5, the Kings staged some late-game heroics of their own as Mike Bibby nailed a jumper with 8.2 seconds remaining, giving his team not only a 92–91 win, but a 3–2 series advantage.24
With their season on the line, the Lakers returned home for Game 6. In a controversial contest, one in which the Lakers attempted 27 free throws in the fourth quarter to Sacramento's 9, O'Neal had one of the most dominant performances of his career with 41 points and 17 rebounds to force a Game 7 in ARCO Arena.25 The outrage was as such that politician Ralph Nader demanded an investigation.26 The Lakers prevailed in overtime 112–106 to earn their third straight NBA Finals berth.27
|2002 Los Angeles Lakers Finals roster|
|2002 New Jersey Nets Finals roster|
All times listed below are Eastern Daylight Time.
|Recap||New Jersey Nets 94, Los Angeles Lakers 99||Staples Center, Los Angeles
|NBC, TSN, Canal+, Canal 7|
|Scoring by quarter: 14–29, 22–19, 27–24, 31–27|
|Pts: O'Neal 36
Rebs: O'Neal 16
Asts: Bryant 6
TOs: O'Neal 5
|Pts: Kidd 23
Rebs: Kidd 10
Asts: Kidd 10
Stls: Horry 3, Kidd 3
Los Angeles's Staples Center sold out for the inaugural game of the 2002 NBA Finals, with nearly 19,000 on hand. The Nets trotted out a lineup of Kidd, Kittles, Martin, Van Horn and MacCulloth to hold up against the two-time defending and heavily favored champions. The Lakers brought out Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Byrant, who drew the assignment of guarding Kidd.. New Jersey head coach Byron Scott, a member of the Showtime Lakers, received a standing ovation.
Taking advantage of a late arrival to the arena by New Jersey, L.A. dominated the first 17 minutes of play with a 42-19 score by the 6:41 mark in the second quarter. From that point on, the Nets went on a 17–6 to close the lead to a respectable 12. They however, had no answer for O'Neal, who had bullied MacCulloth into 16 points and 6 rebounds by half-time. The Nets outscored the Los Angeles in the third but stood steadfast as Bryant scored 11 of his 22 in the third.
|" You can't dig yourself a hole, get down by 19 or 20 points and expect to win. We just dug ourselves a hole against the champions. "|
|—Lucious Harris, Sports Illustrated28|
New Jersey battled back, coming as close as three several times in the final quarter. Desperate to take the lead, they utilized the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy midway in the fourth. It backfired, as O'Neal was 5–8 from the free throw line and had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the period alone.
New Jersey was doomed by their late start and poor shooting. The Nets, who shoot 45% from the field and 74% on free throws were 39% and 57% respectively.29 Kidd finished with a triple–double, the 26th in Finals history and the first since Charles Barkley's in the 1993 series.
|Recap||New Jersey Nets 83, Los Angeles Lakers 106||Staples Center, Los Angeles
|NBC, TSN, Canal+, Canal 7|
|Scoring by quarter: 21–27, 22–22, 18–28, 22–29|
|Pts: O'Neal 40
Rebs: O'Neal 12
Asts: O'Neal 8
TOs: O'Neal 4, Bryant 4
|Pts: Kittles 23
Rebs: Kidd 9
Asts: Kidd 7
TOs: Kidd 5
|Recap||Los Angeles Lakers 106, New Jersey Nets 103||Izod Center, East Rutherford
|NBC, TSN, Canal+, Canal 7|
|Scoring by quarter: 31-23, 21–23, 26–32, 28–25|
|Pts: Bryant 36
Rebs: O'Neal 11
Asts: Fisher 6
TOs: Bryant 6
|Pts: Kidd 30
Rebs: Van Horn 5, Kidd 5
Asts: Kidd 10
TOs: Martin 5
The Finals were produced and televised in the United States by NBC. Marv Albert provided play-by-play calling. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones handled color duties. Jim Gray and Lewis Johnson roamed the sidelines for the Lakers and Nets' respectively. Bob Costas hosted pregame and half-time shows with analyst Tom Tolbert.30 Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay called the four games on ESPN Radio. Hannah Storm hosted the post-game show.
At the conclusion of Game 4, the credits rolled to a final. Shown were highlights the twelve years of NBC broadcasts; the Chicago Bulls' dynasty led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the retirement of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers' new Shaq/Kobe reign. The final image was an empty gym, showing a basketball bouncing into the background and the message "Thanks for The Memories."
As of 2011, Game 4 of the series was the last production and broadcast by NBC and will remain so until at least 2017. In January 2002 the league's broadcast rights were awarded to ABC/ESPN in a six-year deal,31 which was renewed in 2007.32
2002 NBA Finals Ratings
|Game 1||Game 2||Game 3||Game 4|
The Lakers victory in this year's Finals would also mark the beginning of what would become a successful year for professional sports teams in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The nearby Anaheim Angels would later claim their first World Series championship four months later.33 It marked the second occurrence that a city/metropolitan area won both NBA and MLB championships in the same calendar year. The last time this occurred was in 1988 when the Lakers won that year's NBA Finals in June; the Dodgers followed suit with a World Series victory four months later.3334 In relation to sports of smaller leagues, the Los Angeles Sparks won the WNBA Finals two months after the Lakers' 2002 Finals victory; the Los Angeles Galaxy won the MLS Cup exactly one week prior to the Angels' World Series victory in October.33 The successes of Los Angeles area teams led Sporting News magazine to declare Anaheim/Los Angeles as "Best Sports City" in 2003.35
The Lakers were off to a slow start in the 2002-03 NBA season. By this time, the relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal began to show cracks. Injuries were also starting to slow the Lakers down. Nevertheless the Lakers won 50 games, but would only earn the fifth seed, thereby not earning the home-court advantage. Still, the Lakers took down the fourth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in six games, however they were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs, who finally earned revenge after their previous two defeats to the Lakers in the 2001 and 2002 Playoffs. In Game 5, Robert Horry, a perennial clutch threat in the playoffs, missed a game-winning three that would've given the Lakers a 3-2 lead. The miss eventually led to Horry's free-agent defection to the Spurs the following season.
The Nets made it back to the Finals in 2003. They won 49 games and the Atlantic Division title, and heading into the Finals they've won ten straight games, two in the six-game first round win over the Milwaukee Bucks, and two four-game sweeps of the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons. However, they still came up short, losing in six games to the Spurs, in the first NBA finals series featuring former ABA teams.
- Associated (2002-06-13). "Shaq, MJ only players to win three straight Finals MVPs". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Associated Press (2002-06-13). "Lakers' Jackson has reached new heights in coaching". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on 23 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Nets Trade History NBA.com/nets
- Holding to form: Nets take Martin with first pick SportsIllustrated.com
- Kidd, Marbury primary players in trade, USA Today
- Liz Robbins (2002-02-02). "PRO BASKETBALL; Nets Get a New Read From the Old School". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Bryant, McGrady are first-time All-NBA selections, USA Today
- Payton ties mark with ninth All-Defensive slot USA Today
- It's official: Duncan captures MVP award USA Today. Retrieved December 28, 2008
- Title goes to one sharp Thorn: Nets GM honored as wheeler-deeler, New York Daily-News. Accessed 2009-04-14. Archived 2009-05-14.
- Weary Kidd Leads Nets in Double OT Classic NBA.com
- No Kidding, Nets Will Contend for East Title NBA.com
- Pierce sparks Celtics after being down 21 ESPN.com
- Nets allow Celtics to pull off biggest comeback ever Sports Illustrated.com
- Facing Another Collapse, Nets Don't Buckle Accessed June 15, 2009.
- "No Kidding, the Nets are in the NBA Finals!". NBA. 2002-05-31. Retrieved 2009-05-16.dead link
- Averaging a Triple-Double in a Playoff Series NBA.com. Retrieved November 10, 2008
- JockBio: Jason Kidd Biography JockBio. Retrieved December 28, 2008
- A Playoffs for the Ages NBA.com
- West Wins! Kobe Stakes Claim in All-Star Lore NBA.com
- "Horry Continues L.A. Story; Sinks Trey, Blazers". NBA. 2002-04-28. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Kings' big lead proves too much for Lakers ESPN.com
- Lakers tie series with Kings on late 3-pointer ESPN.com
- Bibby's shot falls, Bryant's misses as Kings win ESPN.com
- O'Neal rises to the occasion; Lakers force Game 7 ESPN.com
- Ralph Nader Cries Foul Against the NBA NPR.com
- "Lakers March On as Kings Can't Dethrone Dynasty". NBA. 2002-06-02. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Nets' slow start costs them dearly in Game 1
- Associated Press (2002-06-06). "Nets' slow start costs them dearly in Game 1". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Costas will anchor NBC's NBA swan song USA Today. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
- "NBA Finalizes Cable-Heavy TV Deal, Sees 25% Fee Increase". SportsBusiness Daily. 2002-06-13. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "NBA Extends and Expands Partnership" (Press release). NBA. 2007-06-27. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Mike Penner (December 31, 2002). "What a Wonderfully Wacky Time It Was". Tribune Company (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Holtzman, Jerome (October 22, 1988). "OLD PROS EARN DODGERS REAL BASH". The Chicago Tribune. p. 1.
- Hille, Bob (August 19, 2003). "Best Sports City 2003: We love Greater LA!". Sporting News. Retrieved 1 November 2011.