|MVP|| Tim Duncan |
(San Antonio Spurs)
|Hall of Famers||Spurs|
David Robinson (2009)
Tim Duncan (2020)
Dikembe Mutombo (2015)
Jason Kidd (2018)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
|Eastern Finals||Nets defeated Pistons, 4–0|
|Western Finals||Spurs defeated Mavericks, 4–2|
The 2003 NBA Finals was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2002–03 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs played the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. The Spurs defeated the Nets to win the series 4–2. Spurs' forward Tim Duncan was named the Most Valuable Player of the championship series. The series was broadcast on U.S. television on ABC, with Brad Nessler, Bill Walton, and Tom Tolbert announcing.
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 their new arena, the 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 it was his last season. The NBA Finals also marked the end of Steve Kerr's career as well—he was on the Spurs, having already won three titles with the Chicago Bulls.
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 retired holding Spurs' franchise 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 Suns in overtime. However, the Spurs bounced 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 helped the Spurs win a title two years later). The Spurs eventually disposed of the Lakers in game 6, ending the Lakers' championship run. In the Conference Finals, the Spurs faced their in-state nemesis, the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs started off slow again, losing game 1 by three points, but took control of the series from there, taking the next three straight. After losing game 5 at home 103–91, the Spurs came 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 90–78 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 finished the regular season 49–33, good enough to win the Atlantic Division and clinch the number 2 seed in the East. After splitting the first four games with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, the Nets took 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 Celtics and the Detroit Pistons to win their second straight Eastern Conference championship. With their 49–33 record, the 2003 Nets remain the last team with under 50 wins to reach the NBA Finals.
|San Antonio Spurs (Western Conference champion)||New Jersey Nets (Eastern Conference champion)|
1st seed in the West, best league record
2nd seed in the East, 8th best league record
|Defeated the (8) Phoenix Suns, 4–2||First Round||Defeated the (7) Milwaukee Bucks, 4–2|
|Defeated the (5) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–2||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (6) Boston Celtics, 4–0|
|Defeated the (3) Dallas Mavericks, 4–2||Conference Finals||Defeated the (1) Detroit Pistons, 4–0|
Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:
November 13, 2002
|San Antonio Spurs 82, New Jersey Nets 91|
|2002–03 San Antonio Spurs roster|
|2002–03 New Jersey Nets roster|
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Road Team|
|Game 1||June 4||San Antonio Spurs||101–89 (1–0)||New Jersey Nets|
|Game 2||June 6||San Antonio Spurs||85–87 (1–1)||New Jersey Nets|
|Game 3||June 8||New Jersey Nets||79–84 (1–2)||San Antonio Spurs|
|Game 4||June 11||New Jersey Nets||77–76 (2–2)||San Antonio Spurs|
|Game 5||June 13||New Jersey Nets||83–93 (2–3)||San Antonio Spurs|
|Game 6||June 15||San Antonio Spurs||88–77 (4–2)||New Jersey Nets|
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. So far, the other playoff series are still running on a 2–2–1–1–1 site format.
Game 4 at Continental Airlines Arena was a sellout.
This was the last Finals' series to be played on a Wednesday–Friday–Sunday rotation, which was used starting in 1991 when NBC began carrying the NBA. Starting with the 2004 NBA Finals, all games were played on Thursday–Sunday–Tuesday format until 2016, when it was changed to allow for two days off each time teams traveled.
June 4, 2003
|New Jersey Nets 89, San Antonio Spurs 101|
|Scoring by quarter: 21–18, 21–24, 17–32, 30–27|
| Pts: Kenyon Martin 21|
Rebs: Kenyon Martin 12
Asts: Jason Kidd 10
|Pts: Tim Duncan 32|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 20
Asts: Tim Duncan 6
June 6, 2003
|New Jersey Nets 87, San Antonio Spurs 85|
|Scoring by quarter: 19–18, 22–17, 25–21, 21–29|
| Pts: Jason Kidd 30|
Rebs: Kidd, Harris 7 each
Asts: Kenyon Martin 4
|Pts: Tony Parker 21|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 12
Asts: Tony Parker 5
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Referees: Dan Crawford, Bob Delaney, Bennett Salvatore
June 8, 2003
|San Antonio Spurs 84, New Jersey Nets 79|
|Scoring by quarter: 15–21, 18–9, 21–27, 30–22|
| Pts: Tony Parker 26|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 16
Asts: Tim Duncan 7
|Pts: Kenyon Martin 23|
Rebs: Kenyon Martin 11
Asts: Jason Kidd 11
June 11, 2003
|San Antonio Spurs 76, New Jersey Nets 77|
|Scoring by quarter: 18–16, 16–29, 23–11, 19–21|
| Pts: Tim Duncan 23|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 17
Asts: Parker, Jackson 3 each
|Pts: Kenyon Martin 20|
Rebs: Kenyon Martin 13
Asts: Jason Kidd 9
Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Referees: Mike Callahan, Bernie Fryer, Eddie Rush
June 13, 2003
|San Antonio Spurs 93, New Jersey Nets 83|
|Scoring by quarter: 19–18, 23–16, 24–23, 27–26|
| Pts: Tim Duncan 29|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 17
Asts: Duncan, Parker 4 each
|Pts: Jason Kidd 29|
Rebs: Kenyon Martin 9
Asts: Jason Kidd 7
Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Joe Crawford, Bennett Salvatore
June 15, 2003
|New Jersey Nets 77, San Antonio Spurs 88|
|Scoring by quarter: 25–17, 16–21, 22–19, 14–31|
| Pts: Jason Kidd 21|
Rebs: Kenyon Martin 10
Asts: Jason Kidd 7
|Pts: Tim Duncan 21|
Rebs: Tim Duncan 20
Asts: Tim Duncan 10
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Referees: Dan Crawford, Bob Delaney, Ron Garretson
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 largely centered on the half-court offense and defense of each team, with only one team breaking 100 points in the series. The Nets constantly double-teamed Tim Duncan, often allowing him to find open teammates.
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 to sign 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 off-season. Kidd visited San Antonio and spoke with team officials, but ultimately re-signed with the Nets.
Perhaps the lasting memory of the series is David Robinson retiring as 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. Stephen Jackson's three-pointer during the run held the lead permanently. The Spurs' win denied New Jersey from having both NBA and NHL titles in the same year.
Tim Duncan became the 8th player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award a second time. He joined the list of Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O'Neal. In the series-clinching game, Duncan came two blocks shy of a quadruple double in an NBA Finals game, an extremely rare feat, finishing with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and 8 blocks. Robinson recorded the last quadruple double in NBA history with the Spurs. Duncan and Robinson grabbed 37 rebounds between them, more than the total rebounds of the entire Nets team combined (35).
Steve Kerr joined Dennis Johnson, Bill Walton, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper and Robert Horry as 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. Robert Horry won two with the Houston Rockets (1994–95) and three with the LA Lakers (2000–02), and later went on to win two more with the Spurs in 2005 and 2007.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
The Nets had an inconsistent start to the 2003–04 NBA season, and with a 22–20 record early in the season they fired head coach Byron Scott. Lawrence Frank took over and led the Nets to another Atlantic Division title by winning 47 games, highlighted by a 13–0 start, the best start for a rookie head coach in sports history. Despite that, however, the Nets lost to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons in seven games of the conference semifinals. As of the 2018–19 season [update] , the 2003 Finals remain the Nets' most recent Finals appearance and is their last in New Jersey. The franchise moved to Brooklyn, New York prior to the 2012–13 season. The Nets have also not made the Conference Finals since 2003, having lost four times in the Semifinals, with the last being in 2014. Incidentally, the Spurs would win their fifth title that year.
Jason Kidd remained with the Nets until he was traded in February 2008 to the team he was originally drafted to, the Dallas Mavericks. Kidd, along with teammate Dirk Nowitzki, led the Mavericks to the NBA title in 2011. Kenyon Martin was sent to the Denver Nuggets after the 2003–04 season, while Richard Jefferson eventually joined the Spurs in the 2009–10 season, after a brief one-year stint with the Milwaukee Bucks. He later won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Despite the departures of Robinson, Jackson and Kerr, the Spurs still managed to win 57 games, aided by Tim Duncan's strong play. However, they were ousted in six games by the Los Angeles Lakers, highlighted by Derek Fisher's game winner with 0.4 seconds left in game 5 of the conference semifinals. In the years following Robinson's retirement, Duncan led the Spurs to three more NBA titles in 2005, 2007 and 2014.
The 2003 NBA Finals was aired on NBA on ABC. Until 2007, it was the lowest rated finals in NBA history.
This was also the only year that ABC broadcast both the NBA and the Stanley Cup Finals that involved teams playing in the same arena during each series. During ABC's broadcast of game 3, Brad Nessler, Tom Tolbert, and Bill Walton said that ABC was in a unique situation getting ready for both that game and game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Devils and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim the following night.Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson mentioned this the following night and thanked Nessler, Tolbert, and Walton for promoting NHL on ABC's broadcast of game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio. The Spurs compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Timothy Theodore Duncan is an American former professional basketball player and coach. Nicknamed "the Big Fundamental", he is widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time and one of the greatest players in NBA history. He spent his entire 19-year playing career with the San Antonio Spurs.
Robert Keith Horry is an American former professional basketball player and current sports commentator. He played 16 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), winning seven championships, the most of any player not to have played on the 1960s Boston Celtics. He is one of only four players to have won NBA championships with three teams; he won two with the Houston Rockets, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and two with the San Antonio Spurs with no defeats in NBA Finals. He earned the nickname "Big Shot Rob", because of his clutch shooting in important games; he is widely considered to be one of the greatest clutch performers and winners in NBA history. Horry now works as a commentator on Spectrum SportsNet for the Lakers.
The 2005 NBA Finals was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2004–05 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs played the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage and the Pistons as defending champions. The series was played under a best-of-seven format.. It also marked the Pistons' first NBA Finals loss since 1988.
The 2002 NBA Finals was the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s championship series for the 2001–02 season. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets. The Lakers swept the Nets, four games to none, to win the franchise's 14th NBA championship and third consecutive NBA championship. The 56th edition of the championship series was played between June 5 and June 12 and was broadcast on NBC — the last NBA games broadcast on the network to date.
Samaki Ijuma Walker is an American retired professional basketball power forward and center. Walker played college basketball at the University of Louisville and was drafted in 1996 by the Dallas Mavericks, where he played until 1999. Walker continued to play for the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs (1999–2001), Los Angeles Lakers (2001–2003), Miami Heat (2003–2004), Washington Wizards (2004–2005), and Indiana Pacers (2005–2006). Afterwards, Walker played in various international and minor leagues.
The 2007 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2006–07 season, and was the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs and the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. This was Cleveland's first trip to the NBA Finals in their franchise history and San Antonio's fourth. The Spurs swept the Cavaliers 4 games to 0. Tony Parker was named the series' MVP. The series was televised on ABC under the ESPN on ABC branding, and produced low television ratings comparing to the 2002 NBA Finals, when the Los Angeles Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets.
The 2003 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2002–03 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs defeating the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets, 4 games to 2, in the NBA Finals. Tim Duncan was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time.
The 2002 NBA playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2001–02 season. This was the final postseason that held a best-of-5 first-round series; the 2003 NBA Playoffs saw those series expand to a best-of-7 format. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets 4 games to 0. Shaquille O'Neal was named NBA Finals MVP for the third straight year.
The Lakers–Spurs rivalry is a National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. The rivalry started in the late 1970s and peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since 1999, the teams have met in the NBA Playoffs 7 times, with the clubs combining to appear in seven straight NBA Finals from 1999–2005. Additionally, the teams won each NBA Title from 1999–2003. From 1999–2004, the rivalry was considered as the NBA's best, as each time the clubs faced each other in the playoffs, the winner advanced to the NBA Finals. The rivalry fell off from 2005–07, with the Lakers missing the playoffs in 2005 and losing in the first round to the Phoenix Suns in 2006 and 2007, but intensified again in 2008 when they met in the Western Conference Finals, and later on, again in the first round of the 2013 Western Conference playoffs.
The 2002–03 NBA season was the 36th season of the franchise, 30th in San Antonio, and 27th in the National Basketball Association. This was also the Spurs' first season playing at the SBC Center. During the offseason, the team signed free agent Kevin Willis, traded for Speedy Claxton and Steve Kerr, and welcomed Argentinian future star Manu Ginóbili for his first NBA season. The Spurs played strong basketball, posting a nine-game winning streak at midseason, then winning eleven straight games near the end of the season. The Spurs would win 60 games for only the second time in franchise history as they attempted to win a second title in longtime star David Robinson's final season. The season saw Tim Duncan earn his second consecutive NBA MVP Award, and appear in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. Second-year guard Tony Parker showed improvement, averaging 15.5 points per game. Rookie Manu Ginóbili was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. This season marked the official beginning of the Big Three era, and the end of the Twin Towers era. The trio of Duncan, Parker, and Ginóbili would lead the Spurs to win 3 more championships.
The 2004–05 season was the Spurs' 29th season in the National Basketball Association, the 32nd in San Antonio, and 38th season as a franchise. During the offseason, the Spurs signed free agent Brent Barry. The Spurs got off to a solid start, winning 16 of their first 20 games, entering the New Year with a 25–6 record. In February 2005, the Spurs traded longtime Spur Malik Rose and two draft choices to the New York Knicks for Jamison Brewer and center Nazr Mohammed. Late in the season, the team signed free agent forward Glenn Robinson. The Spurs finished first place in the Southwest Division, and second in the Western Conference with a 59–23 record. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were both voted to play in the 2005 NBA All-Star Game, which was hosted in Denver. This was Ginobili's first All-Star appearance.
The 1998–99 NBA season was the San Antonio Spurs' 32nd season as a franchise, the team's 26th season in San Antonio, and the team's 23rd season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Spurs acquired second-year guard Antonio Daniels from the Vancouver Grizzlies and signed free agents Mario Elie, Steve Kerr and Jerome Kersey. After a promising rookie season from second-year star Tim Duncan, Spurs fans had to wait three months for the season to begin due to a lockout by NBA owners. When the season, which was cut to 50 games finally started, the Spurs posted a 6–8 record in February. In March and April, they won 31 of their final 36 games on their way to a league-best 37–13 season record, roughly equivalent to 61–21 in a full season. Duncan averaged 21.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, and was named to the All-NBA First Team, and to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. David Robinson provided the team with 15.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Lakers' 54th season in the National Basketball Association, and 42nd in the city of Los Angeles. The Lakers entered the season as the two-time defending NBA champions, having defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the 2001 NBA Finals, winning their thirteenth NBA championship. During the offseason, the Lakers signed All-Star guard Mitch Richmond and free agent Samaki Walker, while acquiring Lindsey Hunter from the Milwaukee Bucks. The team got off to a fast start winning their first seven games, leading to a successful 16–1 start after a nine-game winning streak between November and December. The Lakers finished second in the Pacific Division with a 58–24 record. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were both selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, in which Bryant won MVP honors despite being booed by the hometown crowd, but O'Neal did not participate in the All-Star game due to an injury for the second year in a row. Bryant averaged 25.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, while O’Neal averaged 27.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Both players were named to the All-NBA First Team, while Bryant was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
The 2001–02 New Jersey Nets season was the Nets' 35th season in the National Basketball Association, and 26th season in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This season is notable for the Nets acquiring All-Star point guard Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns during the off-season. The Nets selected Eddie Griffin out of Seton Hall University with the seventh pick in the 2001 NBA draft, but soon traded him to the Houston Rockets for top draft pick Richard Jefferson and rookie center Jason Collins, and signed free agent Todd MacCulloch. The Nets won nine of their first twelve games and held a 26–11 record as of January 16. The team finished first place in the Eastern Conference with 52 wins and 30 losses, their best record since joining the NBA after the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. As of 2021, this was the only season where the Nets won 50 or more games.
The Twin Towers was the basketball duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson, who played on the frontcourt of the San Antonio Spurs from 1997 through 2003. Both players were selected first overall by the San Antonio Spurs in their draft years with Robinson's selection coming in the 1987 NBA draft and Duncan's selection coming ten years later and both played their entire careers with the San Antonio Spurs.
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Spurs' 26th season in the National Basketball Association, the 29th in San Antonio, and 35th season as a franchise. During the offseason, the Spurs acquired Steve Smith from the Portland Trail Blazers, and signed free agents Bruce Bowen and second-year guard Stephen Jackson, and drafted French basketball star Tony Parker with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. This was also the Spurs' last season at the Alamodome, as they moved into the brand new AT&T Center the next season. The Spurs won 20 of their first 24 games after a ten-game winning streak in December, then posted a 13-game winning streak in March and won their final nine games, finishing first place in the Midwest Division with a 58–24 record. Tim Duncan averaged 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as he earned his first NBA MVP award joining David Robinson as the only Spurs to win the award. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team, NBA All-Defensive First Team, and was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. Robinson averaged 12.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, while Smith provided the team with 11.6 points per game. Parker averaged 9.2 points and 4.3 assists per game, and made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, while Bowen was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
The 2003–04 NBA season was the Spurs' 28th season in the National Basketball Association, the 31st in San Antonio, and 37th season as a franchise.
The Big Three refers to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginóbili, three longtime National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball players and San Antonio Spurs teammates. The Big Three played together for the Spurs from 2002 through 2016; the Spurs won four NBA championships during that period. The Big Three is one of the most decorated and successful trios in NBA history, having won 575 regular season games and 126 postseason games together.
As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.
But the Spurs, behind the leadership of backup point guard Speedy Claxton, silenced the sellout crowd of 19,280...