San Antonio Spurs beat Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday and claimed their first NBA championship after losing to Heats in 2007.
A third-straight lopsided Finals victory gave the Spurs a 4-1 series triumph and avenged a heartbreaking loss to the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals. It also brought the franchise its fifth NBA championship since it selected Tim Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.
â€śWe remembered what happened last year and how it felt in that locker room and we used it and built on it and got back here,â€ť Duncan told ESPN’s Doris Burke on the court as the celebration whirled around him at the AT&T Center. â€śIt’s amazing. It makes last year OK.â€ť
San Antonio trailed by 16 in the game’s first seven minutes but outscored the Heat 55-29 over the decisive second and third quarters and were never threatened.
â€śWe had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that’s why they’re the champions in 2014,â€ť said LeBron James, who led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, while Argentina’s Manu Ginobili added 19.
James, who has an opt-out clause in his contract this summer, finished with 31 points, but just 14 after Miamiâ€™s impressive first quarter. James was 10-for-21 shooting with 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Bosh, Wade, and ex-Celtic Ray Allen were a combined 11-for-34 shooting, giving Miami no chance to overcome the streaking Spurs.
A three-point shot by Australian Patrick Mills and a jumper by Duncan hiked the Spurs’ lead to 75-53 late in the third quarter and the rout was on.
â€śIt just feels like a dream to me,” said Leonard. “This is my second finals appearance in my third year. I’ve been just progressing each year and the team has also.
â€śLosing in the semifinals my first year, and losing the championship my second year, and now winning in my third year, it just makes you believe in your craft and your hard work.â€ť|
Players wrapped themselves in flags from around world, a reminder that the San Antonio Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions, as confetti fell from above.
â€śHard to believe, isn’t it?â€ť Spurs guard Manu Ginobili told ESPN’s Stuart Scott when asked about his team’s historic performance following the presentation of the Larry O’Brien Trophy by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. â€śWe played at a really high level.â€ť
The Spurs won four titles in nine years, but hadn’t been back on top since 2007, making Foreigner’s â€śFeels Like the First Timeâ€ť an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer, says Fox Sports.
â€śThey played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. There’s no other way to say it,â€ť Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Miami was the first team to play in four successive finals since the Boston Celtics in 1984-87, and were hoping to become the first three-time champion since the Los Angeles Lakers more than a decade ago, reports Reuters.