NBA finals: 5th title for Spurs as Miami denied a three-peat
It was sweet revenge in Texas for the San Antonio Spurs as they beat the Miami Heat 104-87 to claim a 4-1 win in the best-of-seven NBA finals on Monday morning (Singapore time).
After letting slip last year's finals despite leading 3-2 to allow the Heat to come back and win it in Game 7, the Spurs were on a mission to seal their fifth title in Game 5 on home ground at the AT&T Center.
While LeBron James did his best to keep the Heat in the series by posting 17 points in the first quarter, the forward's efforts simply delayed the inevitable as the Gregg Popovich's Spurs wrested control of the game in the second quarter and never let go.
Led by Kawahi Leonard, who scored 22 points and was crowned the finals MVP after leading the Spurs' scoring charts for Games 3 through 5, San Antonio banished the spectre of 2013 as they rallied to ensure there would be no three-peat for the Heat.
Title No. 5
It was a fifth NBA title for the Spurs, who also won in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
They also set a finals series record for shots from the field, converting 52.7 per cent of their attempts throughout the five games.
After the game, Popovich said: "Last year’s loss was devastating. A day didn’t go by where I didn’t think about game six.
"So I think in general for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot speaks volumes about what kind of fibre they have."
For San Antonio's veteran power forward Tim Duncan, who played a part in all five triumphs and became the second player after John Salley to win titles in three different decades, the win was especially sweet.
The 38-year-old said: "It is sweeter than any other, whether it be because of the time frame, because I am coming to the end of my career, because I can have these two (Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) here and really remember it and enjoy the experience." - AFP