San Antonio wins series 4-1 (Game 5 of 5)

San Antonio wins series 4-1

Game 1: Thursday, June 5th
Game 2: Sunday, June 8th
Game 3: Tuesday, June 10th
Game 4: Thursday, June 12th
Game 5: Sunday, June 15th

Heat 87

(54-28, 22-19 away)

Spurs 104

(62-20, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    8:00 PM ET, June 15, 2014

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 29 11 18 2987
    SA 22 25 30 27104

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. James 31 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk

    SA: K. Leonard 22 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Spurs shake early deficit to snuff out Heat and win 5th NBA title

    Associated Press
    Spurs Pull Off Stunning Performance
    Michael Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith offer their reactions to the Spurs' 104-87 victory over the Heat to win their fifth NBA title.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the winningest trio in NBA postseason 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.

    Painfully denied 12 months ago by the Miami Heat, this victory party was worth the wait.

    "It makes last year OK," Duncan said.

    The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship Sunday 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 heartbreaking 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."

    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. There's no other way to say it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

    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 along with Duncan are once again 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.

    The painful conclusion to last year's NBA Finals served as the fuel for this one, powering the Spurs to a league-best 62-win season and a rematch with Miami -- the first in the finals since Chicago beat Utah in 1997-98.

    Round 2 went to the Spurs, but both teams have challenges to navigate if there is to be a rubber match.

    San Antonio will face questions -- as it has for years -- about the age of its core, and whether Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich want to stick around. The Heat will brace for the potential free agency of James, Wade and Bosh, and will need younger, fresher pieces around the three All-Stars if they all stay.

    But this moment belongs to the Spurs.

    Playing a methodical, albeit winning, style for many years made San Antonio respected, but never beloved. The Spurs were TV ratings killers, casual viewers finding them not much fun to watch.

    But Popovich opened up the offense a few years ago, making the Spurs an easy-to-like, tough-to-beat group that thrives on ball movement and 3-point shooting.

    "You showed the world how beautiful this game is," commissioner Adam Silver told the Spurs during the postgame award ceremony.

    A decade and a half after winning their first title in 1999, when Duncan was in his second season, the Spurs remain the NBA's model organization, a small-market team that simply wins big and hardly ever does it with a high draft pick. Instead, they found players overseas or in other organizations who would fit the Spurs' way of doing things and mesh with the Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, who have teamed for 117 postseason victories.

    That included Leonard, acquired in a draft-night trade with Indiana after playing at San Diego State, and Patty Mills, an Australian national who scored 17 points off the bench.

    In the end, the Spurs made winning their fifth title look stunningly easy -- much to the delight of the home crowd. After the slow start, they had their fans standing, chanting and dancing much of the second half.

    Game notes

    It was the Spurs' 12th win by 15 or more points, most ever in a postseason. The Spurs outscored opponents by 214 points in the postseason. ... Miami had won 11 straight series, tied for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Kawhi Leonard is only the fourth player in NBA Finals history to score at least 20 points in three consecutive games before turning 23 years old (ELIAS).
    The Spurs outscored the Heat by 14 points per game in the 2014 NBA Finals, the largest points differential in a single series in Finals history.
    The Spurs and Heat relied on drives this season as both teams ranked in the top 10 in drives per game, according to player-tracking data. In the NBA Finals, the Spurs exploited drives to get shots for teammates, something the Heat were unable to do as effectively. The Heat shot 2-of-9 when LeBron James drove to the basket and passed in the NBA Finals (1-of-7 from 3-point).
    LeBron James created 48 assist opportunities (passes that directly led to shots) in the 2014 NBA Finals, most on the Heat and second most in the series (Boris Diaw, 50). The Heat shot 41.7 percent (20-of-48) off James' passes in the series, second worst of any player with at least 10 assist opportunities. - James scored 23 points in transition in the Finals. The rest of the Heat scored 20 points in transition. - James led all players with 58 paint points in the Finals. He and Wade had 36 paint points through the first three games, but Wade shot 2-of-15 in the paint the last two games (James 11-of-15). - Chris Bosh went 2-of-11 on catch-and-shoot field goals the last three games of the series after going 6-of-12 the first two games.
    LeBron James is the fourth player in NBA history to have at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a game in which his team was eliminated from the NBA Finals (ELIAS).
    The Spurs' passing in the 2014 NBA Finals kicked into a higher gear over the last three games of the series. The Spurs averaged 3.0 passes per play in the half-court offense in each of the last three games of the series, something they failed to do the first two games.
    Leonard's defense on James in the series was key. James shot 57.6 percent against him, but he wasn't always able to get his shot off or even get the ball. - 19 percent of James' touches against Leonard in the Finals resulted in a James field goal attempt. Against all other defenders, that rate jumped to 33 percent. - James was held without a touch on 33 percent of the Heat's possessions when he was guarded by Leonard. Against all other defenders, he was held without a touch 23 percent of the time. - When Leonard did find himself on someone other than James, his defense was still strong. The rest of the Heat shot 27.8 percent (5-of-18) against Leonard in the Finals.
    The Spurs averaged 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.
    Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in scoring the final three games of the series after scoring nine points in each of the first two games. - Leonard also led the Spurs in 3-point shooting this Finals, shooting 57.9 percent. Leonard was a team-best 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) on catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts. - Leonard shot 65.0 percent (13-of-20) when guarded by LeBron James in the series.
    San Antonio's reserves, which led all teams in the regular season with over 45 points per game, is now doing it on the biggest stage, outscoring the Heat's second unit by 14 points per game. In terms of plus-minus, the Spurs' bench players are a whopping +91 while the Heat's are -81.
    In what may be a testament to the Spurs team philosophy, Tony Parker led the team in scoring this postseason with just 17.4 points per game. According to Elias, that's the fewest playoff points per game by a championship team's leading scorer in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
    LeBron James is averaging 35.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists over his last 5 elimination games. And two of those games came against the Spurs in last year's NBA Finals.
    From Elias: If Tim Duncan wins MVP, he would be the 2nd-oldest NBA Finals MVP since the award was first handed out in 1969. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was just 3 days older than Duncan at the time he won the 1985 Finals MVP award.
    The Spurs have outscored the Heat 119-81 in the first quarter this series.
    Ray Allen is taking Mario Chalmers' place in the starting lineup tonight. Entering Game 5, the Heat lineup of Allen-Bosh-James-Lewis-Wade was -9 in 9 minutes. The Heat starting lineup in Games 1-4 was -9 in 46 minutes.
    The Spurs are shooting 54.2 percent from the field this series (154-284), a mark that would set a new Finals record in the shot-clock era.
    From Elias: If the Spurs win the title, it would be a 15-year span between Tim Duncan's first (1999) and last NBA title (2014). That would be the 2nd-longest span in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (17 years) among players that played in both NBA Finals series.
    Of the 18 teams to lose a Game 7 of the NBA Finals (including the Spurs last year), 12 actually made it back to the Finals the following season. And 5 of them went on to capture the title (the last to do so were the Pistons, who lost in 7 games in the 1987-88 Finals and then won the following season). The last 3 teams to lose a NBA Finals Game 7 (2009-10 Celtics, 2004-05 Pistons and 1993-94 Knicks) each failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the following season.
    No team in NBA Finals history has overcome a 3-1 series deficit (prior to this series, 31 teams trailed 3-1). Only 2 teams have forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-1. The 1950-51 Knicks, which actually fell behind 3-0 to the Rochester Royals - and the 1965-66 Lakers, who lost to the Celtics in 7 games after rallying from a 3-1 deficit.
    From Elias: Tony Parker is averaging a team-leading 17.5 points per game this postseason. That would be the fewest playoff PPG by a championship team's leading scorer in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
    LeBron James is averaging 27.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting this series. Only 2 players averaged at least 25 points on 60.0 percent shooting in an NBA Finals series - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice) and Shaquille O'Neal (twice). The only instance in which a player lost while posting those averages was O'Neal in 2004 when his Lakers fell to the Pistons.
    Gregg Popovich is looking to become the 5th head coach in NBA History to win 5 titles.
    Dating back to when the NBA Finals MVP was first awarded in 1969, there have been just 5 players that won the award in a season in which they weren't selected to the All-Star Team. Chauncey Billups was the last to fall under that category.
    Ray Allen is just 3 three-pointers away from passing Robert Horry for the most in NBA Finals history.
    Chris Bosh is averaging 10.5 PPG over the last 2 games after putting up 18.0 PPG over Games 1-2.
    The Spurs have 40 more assists and 6 fewer turnovers than the Heat this series. Miami has turned it over 67 times and totaled just 62 assists.
    From Elias: Tim Duncan is seeking to become the second player in NBA history to win an NBA title in three different decades. John Salley is the only player to accomplish that feat, winning with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990, with the Bulls in 1996 and with the Lakers in 2000.
    Kawhi Leonard registered 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in Game 4. He's averaging 24.5 points and 9.0 rebounds over the last 2 games - and should he win MVP honors, he'd be the 4th-youngest recipient of the award since it was first handed out in 1968-69.

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