SAN ANTONIO — The incredible four-year run to the NBA Finals by the Miami Heat came to an end Sunday in San Antonio 104-87 in game five. The Spurs are the 2014 champions of basketball after dissecting the Heat in five games. Last year, the same two teams met in the NBA Finals with the Heat prevailing in seven games.
You might recall in game six of last year’s Finals, with the Spurs leading the Heat three games to two, the Heat rallied from five points down with 28 seconds left to force overtime. Miami not only won in overtime; they captured game seven 92-90. The Spurs used that heartbreak and disappointment to fuel their drive to return to the Finals and win it.
Not only did the Spurs go 62-20 in the regular season, best in the league, but the way they won it in the playoffs, they deserve consideration as among the NBA’s best-ever teams. It takes 16 wins to win the NBA crown in the playoffs. Of the Spurs’ 16 wins, 12 were by 15 points or more, the most ever, including all four Finals wins over the previous Champion Heat.
The Spurs shot 52.8 percent, the best ever in the NBA Finals since the use of the shot clock. They also outscored their playoff opponents by a whopping 214 points. Their bench was strong and deep.
The Spurs have now become only the fourth NBA team to win five or more NBA Championships, joining the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls on Mount Rushmore. Tim Duncan joins Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant now with five NBA titles. The Spurs’ big three of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have won four titles together.
Forward Kawhi Leonard was named the Finals Most Valuable Player; he scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in game five. He’s among the youngest ever to win MVP, at age 22 joining Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan as youngest Finals MVPs ever.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has now won five NBA titles as coach, third best all-time. He was also the 2014 NBA Coach of the Year.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter @FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to [email protected], or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.