Spurs dethrone Heat
SAN ANTONIO—Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker—the winningest trio in NBA post-season history—shared hugs.
Players wrapped themselves in flags from around world—a reminder that the San Antonio Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions—as confetti fell from above.
“It makes last year OK,” Duncan said.
The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship last night, ending the Heat’s two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games.
“We had a great first quarter but from that point on, they were the better team and that’s why they’re the champions in 2014,” said LeBron James, who led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
San Antonio erased an early 16-point deficit and routed Miami for the fourth time in the series—denying the Heat’s quest for a third-straight championship.
A year after the Spurs suffered their only loss in six finals appearances, a heart-breaking seven-game defeat, they turned the rematch into no match at all.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves. I’m just glad we were able to do that,” Parker said.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who added this title to the ones they won in 1999, 2003, ’05, and ’07.
They nearly had another last year but couldn’t hold off the Heat.
“I’ve said many times, a day didn’t go by where I didn’t think about Game 6,” Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich said of the turning point in last year’s Finals.
“So I think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, I think speaks volumes about how they’re constituted and what kind of fiber they have,” he added.
Not to mention tons of talent—and perhaps the best coaching in the game.
“They played exquisite basketball this series and, in particular, these last three games and they are the better team,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“There’s no other way to say it.”
The Spurs won four titles in nine years but hadn’t been back on top since 2007, making Foreigner’s “Feels Like the First Time” an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer.
Duncan and Popovich have been here for all of them, and it was the fourth for Parker and Ginobili, who with Duncan once again are the reigning “Big Three” in the NBA.
Chris Bosh finished with 13 points and Dwyane Wade just 11 on 4-of-12 shooting for the Heat.