Spurs Soaks Heat To Clinch NBA Glory

By the end of Sunday night, LeBron James could only sit and watch as the Miami Heat’s reign as back-to-back champions came to end. This year, there would be no collapse from the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs again dismantled the Heat, overwhelming them in a 104-87 victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to secure the franchise’s fifth – and maybe least likely – championship.
From Tim Duncan to Manu Ginobili to Tony Parker, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich subbed out his stars one by one so they could each get their own applause.
The Spurs won their fourth title in 2007, and in nearly every year since they were told their championship window was supposedly closing, including last year when they were seconds from closing out the Heat in Game 6 of the Finals only to have the crown slip from their fingers.
“What happened last year made us stronger,” Ginobili said. “We knew we weren’t going to let this opportunity get away.”
Playing crisp, beautiful team basketball that has defined the franchise, the Spurs clinched the title with contributions from all corners of their roster. Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich has described as the future of the franchise, continued his strong play over the final three games of the series by totaling 22 points and 10 points. Ginobili scored 19 points. Parker had 16, all in the fourth quarter. Backup point guard Patty Mills scored 17.
At 22, Leonard became the third-youngest Finals MVP in history, behind only Magic Johnson, who twice won it when he was 20 and 22. After scoring nine points in each of the series’ first two games, Popovich chided Leonard to become assertive. He heeded his coach’s instructions, scoring 29, 20 and 22 points over the final three games, each of them blowouts by the Spurs.


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