The Miami Heat had to come with their best effort of the postseason in Game 5 to have any shot at extending the 2014 NBA Finals. For much of the first quarter of Game 5 the Heat were indeed clicking on all cylinders. But after amassing a 16-point lead, it was all downhill for LeBron James and company.
It took the San Antonio Spurs nearly a quarter to get going, but by halftime they were right back where they’ve been for the majority of the Finals — in control.
The Spurs needed to deliver the knockout blow in Game 5 for many reasons, but mainly so the best player in the world didn’t get a chance to make history in Games 6 and 7. A knockout blow was indeed delivered in Game 5 as it turns out, thanks in part to the efforts of Kawhi Leonard, who should get the nod for Finals MVP.
Leonard was not only a huge spark for San Antonio on offense throughout the night, he once again was able to make life difficult for James on defense for most of the game.
Beyond Leonard you have to tip your cap to Manu Ginobili. The aging star left it all on the court in the series-clincher, including an all-time Finals dunk in the second quarter that nearly blew the roof off the AT&T Center.
Despite Tony Parker‘s cold night from the field, the Spurs still found a way to win their fifth title of the Gregg Popovich era with strong outings from role players like Patty Mills.
Looking back, it wasn’t even close. The Spurs were in line for this avenging title win all season. They had the best record in the NBA during the regular season, and were simply dominant at times in the postseason. The Spurs showed the world how basketball is supposed to be played — as a team.
If this is the end for Tim Duncan, what a way to go out.