The San Antonio Spurs are NBA champions.
The Spurs closed out the Miami Heat in 5 games with a convincing 104-87 win to claim the title. There will be no 3-peat for the Heat and the future of the Big 3 is very, very uncertain.
It was only fitting that Kawhi Leonard, who had such an outstanding series and was named Finals MVP, led the Spurs in scoring for the 3rd straight game with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Tony Parker, who did not score until there were 15 seconds left in the 3rd quarter had 16 points, and Tim Duncan scored 14.
Manu Ginobili was once again very productive off the bench scoring 19 points, and Patty Mills had his best game of the series with 17 points.
This is Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan’s 5th championship together going back to 1999. Their last title came in 2007.
Prior to the start of the game, Chris Bosh said, “We’re going to win this game tonight.” He was wrong.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra even tried to shake things up by inserting Ray Allen into the starting lineup for the first time all post-season, but it didn’t matter.
Miami was on fire to start the game scoring the first 8 points, and getting out to a 22-6 lead. San Antonio then came alive to out-score Miami 16-7 the rest of the quarter. LeBron James owned the first 12 minutes scoring 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Miami led 35-28 at the 6:43 mark of the 2nd quarter. That’s when the Spurs went on 14-0 run to take a 42-35 lead. A Kawhi Leonard 3 gave San Antonio its first lead of the game, and 8 straight points from Manu Ginobili keyed the Spurs’ run. The Spurs never looked back.
Ginobili turned back the clock when he posterized Chris Bosh with an emphatic throw down. San Antonio outscored the Heat 25-11 in the 2nd, and led 47-40 at half-time with LeBron scoring half of Miami’s points.
It was Patty Mills time in the 3rd quarter. Mills scored 14 of his 17 points in the 3rd, as San Antonio outscored Miami 30-18 to take a 19-point lead entering the 4th. The Heat scored 29 points in the first quarter, and scored a combined 29 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
By the 4th, the outcome was all but a virtual certainty as San Antonio cruised to the victory.
For the Heat, LeBron James did all he could scoring a game high 31 points, but the help was not there. Chris Bosh was the next leading scorer with 13 points, and Dwyane Wade had 11. No other Heat player reached double figures.
Whether the Spurs’ core of Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili will stick around for another season isn’t clear at this time, but going out on top should be very appealing to them.
It’s truly amazing the difference one year can make. Last year at this time, the consensus was the Spurs championship window was closed. They proved us all wrong.