NBA Finals Game Five: Miami Heat 87 – San Antonio Spurs 104
One year in the making, the San Antonio Spurs finally got their revenge on Sunday evening. It was this time last year that the Spurs were just seconds away from a NBA Championship when Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer and changed the entire outlook of the series. This time, the series was never that close. The 17-point win gave the Spurs their fifth NBA Championship in franchise history, while also making LeBron James a mediocre 2-3 in NBA Finals series.
It’s not fair to put all of the blame on James. He came out in the first quarter and scored 17 points to give the Heat a 29-22 lead after one. But the tide quickly changed in the second when the Spurs outscored Miami 25-11 in the second.
Part of that second quarter run was fueled by the efforts of Kawhi Leonard, who finished the night with 22 points and 10 rebounds. There was plenty of talk about Leonard needing to be the x-factor in this series and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Leonard scored more than 20 points in each of the last three games and averaged 17.8 over the length of the five-game series. What might be equally as impressive is the fact that Leonard was 7 for 10 from the field and 3 for 4 from 3-point distance in the series clinching win. For all of his efforts, Leonard was named the Finals MVP in just his second season in the league.
Leonard got plenty of help from the rest of his team. Tim Duncan scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds en route to his fifth NBA title. Tony Parker also pitched in with 16 points in 36 minutes of play. Manu Ginobili came off the bench with 19 points and Patty Mills contributed 17 of his own.
While the Spurs continued to show how deep their bench was during this series, the same can’t be said for Miami. James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were the only players to score in double digits with 31, 13 and 11, respectively. Miami’s Big Three is now 1-2 in NBA Finals during the last three years.
In contrast, the Spurs are now 5 for 6 in NBA Finals, all of which came with Tim Duncan as an influential member of the team. When asked about retirement about after the game, Duncan skirted around the question. The Spurs have continually showed that despite their aging roster, they have what it takes to dominate during the regular season and continue playing well in the postseason as well.
What might be the most surprising part of this series was how dominant the Spurs were. They won Game One by 15, Game Three by 19, Game Four by 21 and tonight by 17. Their only loss, in Game Two, was by just 2 points.
When the season started, the Heat were projected to win the NBA Championship with the best odds in the league, with the Spurs being right behind them. The ironic part may be that the same positioning is in place for next season, as the Heat have the early 5/2 odds, while the Spurs start at 8/1. Now that the NBA season is over, there could be plenty of transactions between teams that change these odds. You can rely on sportspicks.com handicappers throughout the offseason and into next year for the best insight into the NBA. In the mean time, the Spurs will enjoy their much-deserved 2014 NBA Championship.