It was redemption for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost in crushing defeat last season only to rise up and get to another NBA Finals. This time, they wouldn’t go home empty handed.
Down 1-3, the Miami Heat came out like a team on the ropes jumping to a 22-6 lead to start the game. That was the high point. With about 5 minutes left in the first quarter, the Spurs started their comeback, eventually taking and not relinquishing the lead to win 104-87 in Game 5 in San Antonio.
San Antonio was the better team, whipping the ball around the court with possibly the best passing game we have ever seen. Miami couldn’t keep up, offensively or defensively.
LeBron: “They were the much better team. That’s how team basketball should be played.”
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 16, 2014
Kawhi Leonard was named finals MVP. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, and spent much of series guarding LeBron.
Manu Ginobili, who found redemption for last season’s poor showing with a strong finals performance this year, had 19 points. Patty Mills went 5-of-8 from three on his way to 17 important points while Tony Parker started 0-10 from the court before finally getting his shots to fall in the second half. He finished with 16 points. The Heat didn’t have an answer for Tim Duncan in the post, who had 14 points.
LeBron James said “follow my lead” before tip off and scored 17 points in the first quarter. But he was going too fast for the rest of his crew. He barely rested until the Heat conceded the game and the season with just a few minutes left.
LeBron: “Mixed emotions. Started off very well as a team, but from then on they were the better team.”
— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) June 16, 2014
He had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat. Again, it was LeBron initiating the offense, shouldering the scoring load and guarding 1-5 on defense. He needed help and didn’t get it.
Chris Bosh scored 13 points, going 0-5 on his three-point attempts. Dwyane Wade went just 4-of-12 from the floor, scoring 11 points.
The Heat were dominated in their losses, losing each by at least 15 points. Still, like Erik Spoelstra said after the game, there is no shame in losing to a better team. It took a while for San Antonio to get going, but it was clear they were just that.