Heading into their final season in the Eastern Conference, the New Orleans Hornets were ready to make their second season in New Orleans one to remember. Baron Davis looked healthier than ever. Jamaal Magloire, after his first full season as the starting center, looked like he was poised for a breakout year. And Jamal Mashburn had just come off a career-year in which he played in all 82 games and was named an All-Star, both firsts for the veteran forward.
Mashburn's string of good health didn't continue as he fell to the injury bug once again, sidelined by a knee injury for all but 19 games. The "Dynamic Duo" of Davis and Magloire? They lived up to expectations. Davis busted out of the starting gate for the New Orleans Hornets, leading the team to a 17-7 record over the first month. For leading the New Orleans Hornets to a hot start, he earned the Play of The Month Award for October/November. His stellar play continued throughout the season in which he led the New Orleans Hornets in minutes (8th in the NBA), scoring (6th in the NBA), assists (4th in the NBA) and steals (1st in the NBA) per game.
Jamaal Magloire started all 82 games, in which he averaged career-bests in points (13.6 ppg) and rebounds (10.3 rpg). The "Big Cat" also had a team-high 45 double-doubles. For their efforts, both Magloire and Davis were named to the 2004 All-Star Team. They were the first Hornets duo to be named All-Stars since Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson were selected to appear in the All-Star Game in 1995.
The New Orleans Hornets hot start, unfortunately, was not a sign of things to come as injuries and up-and-down play led the Hornets to a 41-41 record and the fifth seed in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. In one the most memorable series of the 2004 Playoffs, the New Orleans Hornets and the fourth-seeded Miami Heat squared off in a first-round battle. And in a series in which the home team won every game, the Heat prevailed four games to three, ending the New Orleans Hornets tenure as an Eastern Conference team.