San Antonio Spurs have won their fifth NBA championship after a comfortable 104-87 win over Miami Heat to win the 2014 NBA Finals 4-1.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 22 points and 10 rebounds as he claimed the Finals MVP crown, yanking it away from last year’s winner LeBron James, who finished with a game-high 31 points for Miami who were clearly playing second fiddle to an inch perfect San Antonio side.
Trailing 29-22 after the first quarter, the Spurs hit back in the second with back-to-back buckets from Tim Duncan. Then a three in transition from Leonard handed the hosts the advantage, which was followed by a dunk in the lane by Manu Ginobili on Chris Bosh. By then, you knew that this would be San Antonio’s night.
As was the norm in this series, James was leading the Miami charge, but had no back-up. The Spurs eased to victory, erasing their 2013 NBA Finals loss in seven games to the Heat when they should have clinched it then in six.
This year, the Spurs didn’t need seven games like the Heat did last year … they didn’t even need six.
WHAT DECIDED THE GAME?
SAN ANTONIO’S GOOD SHOT SELECTION not just in this game but throughout the series has been sublime. From ESPN, the Spurs averaged an amazing 118.5 points per 100 possessions and had an effective field goal percentage of 60.4 in the 2014 NBA Finals, both the highest in any Finals series since the 3-point line was introduced in the 1979-80 season.
In these Finals, the Spurs shot 52.8 percent overall. You have to go back to the 1991 Chicago Bulls to find a team who shot anywhere near that, as they shot 52.7 percent in their 4-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.
LEBRON HAD NO OTHER PLAYER TO RELY ON not just in this game, but again the entire series. It’s a shame as LeBron does not deserve this outcome at all, but the others did not step up at all.
DWYANE WADE was not even on the court in the 2014 NBA Finals. The fact is that he wasn’t given any special treatment defensively by the Spurs in this game, and like in Game 4, he wasn’t producing like usual.
When LeBron said to the team, pre-game to follow his lead; Wade never did. He ended with 11 points, off 4/12 shooting. The days of his 2006 Finals MVP self are gone, but a supporting role with James would have been handy.
“I just struggled a little bit,” Wade said dismissively. “As I told you guys, I’m never going to point at anything physically. I felt fine. I just struggled a little bit offensively. You know, I wish I could have done more, but it’s the nature of the game. So [it’s] nothing physically at all.”
2013 FINALS MOMENT: LEBRON’S BLOCK ON SPLITTER
2014 FINALS MOMENT (APART FROM THE A/C): LOOK BELOW
Argentina’s Manu Ginobili led the way off the bench for the internationals with 19 points ans 4 assists. Now that the Finals are over, and he has a fourth NBA championship, might he want a final swansong with the national team at the World Cup?
Australia’s Patty Mills had his best game of the Finals and more than proved that he belongs on this stage. He scored 17 points in 18 minutes and with the World Cup plus pre-season commitments with the Spurs to follow in the NBA off-season, Mills has a lot to look forward to.
France’s Tony Parker has played a captain’s innings in these Finals. He has controlled the pace in these five games and made Miami’s guards look very ordinary. Game 5 was no different. Parker hit 16 points.
Fellow Frenchman Boris Diaw has been an unsung hero in these Finals. He amassed 5 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in Game 5 and is a deserved NBA champion.
Brazil’s Tiago Splitter will be remembered in Game 5 for this. (Yes we know it’s a goaltend)
Australia’s Aron Baynes and Italy’s Marco Belinelli each played cameo roles, but are NBA champions. For Baynes, he hasn’t done badly for someone who couldn’t get out the Euroleague group stages with Union Olimpija Ljubljana in 2012.