Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 17th 2014 Contents SAN ANTONIO---Tim Duncan and
Tony Parker won titles in their sec-
ond seasons. Manu Ginobili was a
champion as an NBA rookie.
Success came so quickly and fre-
quently for the Spurs Big Three, but
San Antonio couldn t keep it up after
winning its last title in 2007. And
just when they were on the verge of
being back on top again last year,
the Miami Heat practically snatched
the championship rings right off
So when they finally celebrated
again on Sunday, players wrapping
themselves in flags from around the
world in a reminder that the Spurs
look far beyond the border to build
champions, Parker had no trouble
deciding where to rank this title.
"That s why I say it s the sweetest
one," Parker said, "because it s just
unbelievable to win seven years ago,
and to be so close last year, it was
very cruel. But that s the beauty of
sport. Sometimes it s tough. And
sometimes it can be beautiful like
The Spurs finished off a dominant
run to their fifth NBA championship,
ending the Heat s two-year title reign
with a 104-87 victory that wrapped
up the series in five games.
Painfully denied 12 months ago
by the Heat, this victory party was
worth the wait.
"We got to this spot and we didn t
let it go," Ginobili said.
San Antonio erased an early 16-
point deficit and routed Miami for
the fourth time in the series. A year
after the Spurs suffered their only
loss in six finals appearances---a
heartbreaking seven-game defeat---
they turned the rematch into no
match at all.
"We 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," said LeBron
James, who led the Heat with 31
points and ten rebounds.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had
22 points and ten rebounds for the
Spurs, who added this title to the
ones they won in 1999, 2003, 05
and 07 by shooting a finals-record
52.8 per cent in the series.
"They played exquisite basketball
this series and in particular these
last three games," Heat coach Erik
A decade and a half after winning
their first title, the Spurs remain the
NBA s model organisation, a small-
market team that simply wins big
and hardly ever does it with a high
draft pick. Instead, they found players
overseas or in other organisations
who would fit the Spurs way of
doing things and mesh with Duncan
(US), Parker (France) and Ginobili
(Argentina), who have teamed for
117 postseason victories, the most
by one trio.
Players such as Leonard, acquired
in a draft-night trade with Indiana,
and Patty Mills, an Australian who
scored 17 points off the bench.
The Spurs won four titles in nine
years, but had gone so long since
the last one that Foreigner s Feels
Like the First Time was an appro-
priate song choice after the final
Duncan and Popovich have been
here for all of them, and it was the
fourth for Parker and Ginobili, who
with Duncan, are once again the
reigning Big Three in the NBA.
Chris Bosh finished with 13 points
and Dwyane Wade just 11 on 4-of-
12 shooting for the Heat.
The painful conclusion to last
year s NBA Finals served as the fuel
for this one, powering the Spurs to
a league-best 62-win season and a
rematch with Miami---the first in
the finals since Chicago beat Utah
Round 2 went to the Spurs, but
both teams have challenges to nav-
igate if there is to be a third match.
San Antonio will face questions---
as it has for years---about the age of
its core, and whether Duncan, Gino-
bili and Popovich want to stick
around. The Heat will brace for the
potential free agency of James, Wade
and Bosh, and will need younger,
fresher pieces around the three All-
Stars if they all stay.
But this moment belongs to the
Playing a methodical style for
many years made San Antonio
respected, but never beloved despite
its winning ways. The Spurs were
TV ratings killers, casual viewers
finding them not much fun to watch.
But Popovich opened up the
offense a few years ago, making the
Spurs an easy-to-like, tough-to-
beat group that thrives on ball move-
ment and 3-point shooting.
"You showed the world how beau-
tiful this game is," Commissioner
Adam Silver told the Spurs during
the postgame award ceremony. (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 17, 2014
SAN ANTONIO---Kawhi Leonard could
have been devastated by losing last season s
Instead, he vowed to get better.
The San Antonio Spurs youngest star is
a champion now after the Spurs beating the
Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday in Game 5 of
the NBA Finals, finishing off a 4-1 triumph.
And after watching the Heat celebrate last
season, Leonard was the pick as Most Valuable
Player of the series, accepting his award from
11-time champion Bill Russell.
"Everybody is just living in the moment
right now," Leonard said. "Really don t know
what s going on."
When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
announced Leonard as the MVP, he was
mobbed by his teammates and Spurs coach
Gregg Popovich roared with laughter, knowing
Leonard would have to do what he hates
most---talk about himself.
"Right now, it s just surreal to me," Leonard
said. "I have a great group of guys behind
Leonard had 22 points and ten rebounds,
his third straight big game in the series. He
fouled out in the fourth quarter, which was
barely noticed after the job he did helping
keep LeBron James in some sort of check
over the final three quarters.
When it was over---actually, a few seconds
before it was over---James led a group of Heat
players down to the Spurs bench for the first
round of congratulatory hugs.
The first one he gave, and rightly so, was
to Leonard. It was James taking the trophy
from Russell in each of the last two seasons,
after Miami s titles.
This time, the night belonged to Leonard,
a 22-year-old who the Spurs have long
thought was the heir apparent to the Big 3
of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony
"The first two games, he didn t play so
well," James said about Leonard. "I thought
he attacked more in the last three games,
shot the ball extremely well."
Added Heat guard Dwyane Wade: "It s like
he just played free. ...He s the future of this
The Big 3 in San Antonio is still champi-
onship-good, but their key player now might
be Leonard, who just took over this series.
"He s a great learner and he s super com-
petitive, has a drive to be the best that s really
uncommon in our league," Popovich said.
"He walks the walk. I mean, he s there early,
he s there late. He wants more. He wants me
and the coaches to push him. So I just talked
to him about not being in that defer sort of
stage. The hell with Tony, the hell with
Timmy, the hell with Manu, you play the
game. You are the man." (AP)
Spurs top Heat to nab NBA title
Most Valuable Player San Antonio Spurs forward
Kawhi Leonard holds up his trophy after Game 5 of
the NBA basketball finals against the Miami Heat on
Sunday night in San Antonio. AP PHOTO
Spurs' Leonard wins MVP trophy
The San Antonio Spurs pose for a photo after Game 5 of the NBA
basketball finals against the Miami Heat on Sunday night in San Antonio.
The Spurs won the NBA championship 104-87. AP PHOTO
San Antonio 4, Miami 1
June 5: San Antonio 110, Miami
June 8: Miami 98, San Antonio
June 10: San Antonio 111, Miami
June 12: San Antonio 107,
June 15: San Antonio 104,
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