The title may have been clinched in Game 5 but the only number 5 the fans of San Antonio Spurs were thinking about was the 5th NBA Championship in the team’s history. In the 2013 NBA Finals, the Spurs suffered heartache but this year, revenge and the glory was all theirs. Perhaps the loss was all the motivation that Spurs needed but in dropping just one game in five, the Spurs proved themselves to be very worthy winners of the title. The 104-87 victory was a true reflection in the Spurs dominance, not only in the game, but in the overall series.
Everywhere you looked in the Spurs team; there was someone with a story to tell. Tim Duncan clinched his fifth Championship ring, showing that longevity and on-going success can be achieved in basketball, and there were a number of people in the Spurs outfit who can boast of long-term success. However, this wasn’t a victory that solely relied on experience and in young Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs had a very worthy winner of the Finals MVP.
Leonard suffered heartache last year when he was one of the players singled out for the sixth game collapse that turned the tide in the 2013 NBA Finals. Leonard was slow to put that pain behind him as he was far from his best in the opening two games of the series but in Games 3, 4 and 5, he was at his scintillating best. In Game 5, Leonard delivered 22 points and helped himself to 10 rebounds.
The Heat roared into life
There was a need for Spurs to step up because as you would have expected, the Heat got off to a flying start. This was a must-win game for the Miami side and when they roared into a 22-6 lead, their fans may have dared to believe that the comeback was on. LeBron James promised he would give his all to keep the team in the hunt for the title and he managed to score 17 points in the first quarter. James continued in great form, he eventually scored 31 points and provided 10 rebounds but after the first quarter, the Spurs were the team to turn up the heat. James may have been the MVP in the 2013 NBA Finals but for the 2014 edition, all he could do was stand around while other players got to bask in the glory.
This was the first time that Spurs had triumphed since 2007 and LeBron James was on the losing side that year as well, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James, and the rest of the Miami players, have experienced the highs and lows that come with NBA Finals, and they will be hoping to emulate the achievement of the Spurs in bouncing back after a crushing Finals defeat.
One of the key factors in the Spurs triumph was their ability to outscore their opponents. In the final three matches of the Finals, they won their games by an average of 19 points and in the Play-Offs game this season, they triumphed in their games by a score of 214, which is a record for margin of victory in the Play-Offs. Another element of the Spurs 2014 title success was the fact that they largely managed to keep the Heat in check. When the Heat raced into their 8-0 lead at the start of Game 5, it was the first time that the Spurs had been ahead by more than 2 points since the second game.