The Bucks fall to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs
Fifteen years after their last meeting in the playoffs, the Bucks and Pistons kicked things off in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs back in mid-April of 2004.
Fully out of the ‘Big 3’ era, the Bucks entrusted a promising sharpshooter in Michael Redd to lead a new era, as he went on to enjoy his lone All-Star campaign that year. First-year head coach and Wisconsin native Terry Porter guided the Bucks to a 41-41 season, which was good enough for the sixth seed in the East that season.
Helmed by the legendary Larry Brown, the Pistons took their incredibly cohesive roster to new heights with the midseason acquisition of veteran forward Rasheed Wallace. With Wallace on board, the Pistons relied on their second-ranked defense to smother their opponents en route to 54 wins in the regular season to lock down their third seed in the conference.
The Pistons took Game 1 on their home floor with ease by forcing the Bucks into making miscues all throughout the tilt to notch a 108-82 win. However, the Bucks threw a wrench in the Pistons’ grand plans by evening up the series with a 92-88 victory backed by Redd’s 26 points on 17 shots (4-for-7 from three).
With the series shifting over to the Bradley Center, the Pistons took back control of the series in the second half of Game 3 by prevailing with a 95-85 win. Game 4 saw a similar performance as the Pistons blew open the game in the fourth quarter to win 109-92 and a chance to close out the series on their home floor for Game 5.
And that’s exactly what occurred as the Pistons limited the Bucks to 77 points in the final game to breeze to the second round and face the New Jersey Nets in the Conference Semifinals.
After taking down the Nets in seven games and the Indiana Pacers in six meetings for the Conference Finals, the Pistons locked down one of the most monumental upsets in Finals history by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, giving them their third and most recent title in franchise history.