Few teams in NBA history can boast a defense as fearsome as that of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons. Led by Ben Wallace, the team routinely shut down opponents, and they went all the way to win the championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
The Pistons set records that season for the lowest opponent PPG for the regular season (84.26) as well as the playoffs (80.7) in this century. They also saved their best for last, as those Lakers led by Shaq and Kobe failed to score 90 points in all of the games in the Finals, except for Game 2, which went to overtime. Such was their dominance throughout that regular season as well that they managed to register 11 games where their opponents failed to score 70 points, which included a run of 5 straight games, which is unthinkable in the modern NBA.
Games Of Holding Opponents To Under 70 Points
November 29, 2003: Detroit Pistons @ Washington Wizards 80-69
January 5, 2004: Detroit Pistons @ Boston Celtics 78-68
January 7, 2004: Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets 85-66
February 23, 2004: Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers 76-66
March 4, 2004: Detroit Pistons @ Portland Trail Blazers 83-68
March 6, 2004: Detroit Pistons @ Denver Nuggets 97-66
March 7, 2004: Detroit Pistons @ Seattle Supersonics 86-65
March 10, 2004: Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls 98-65
March 14, 2004: Detroit Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers 85-69
April 4, 2004: Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers 79-61
April 9, 2004: Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors 74-66
It is incredible how they managed to pull that off, and they unsurprisingly won all of those games as well. Accomplishments like these are one of the many reasons why so many, including Kendrick Perkins, believe that they are the greatest defensive team in NBA history.
It is hard to argue against that when you look at the numbers, and they almost won back-to-back titles, as they lost in 7 games to the Spurs the following year. The Pistons are in many ways the dynasty that never was, as they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals 6 years in a row from 2003 to 2008 but were only able to win one championship. Who knows how differently things might have panned out if GM Joe Dumars hadn't made what he admitted to being his biggest mistake by drafting Darko Milicic 2nd overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.