The 2014 NBA Championship belongs to the San Antonio Spurs. After seeing their dreams slip away in game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals at the hands of Ray Allen in the right corner, the Spurs were able to put it all behind them and dismantle the Heat in five games, all of that culminating with their 104-87 victory in San Antonio for game 5 on Sunday night.
In his and the Miami Heat’s quest for a three-peat, LeBron James dejectedly sat on the sidelines for the last six minutes or so of game 5, looking at a team that didn’t provide him the help that he needed to get the job done. Up to that point, he had played almost every minute and put up 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks while shooting 10-21 from the floor. For all of the LeBron hate that goes around, it was his teammates that weren’t up to snuff on Sunday night.
However, the story is undoubtedly about what this Spurs team has been able to accomplish. This isn’t one magical season where they caught fire and rode those flames to a championship. Yes, they did catch fire in games 3-5 and they did ride that to a championship, but this is about one of the greatest dynasties in the modern NBA and the stars that were able to get them to this point.
Obviously the legendary trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were huge in getting the Spurs to this point. However, this series, particularly the closing three games, were about the emergence of Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard scored over 20 points in each of the final three games of the Finals, the first time that he’s scored 20 points in three consecutive games in his young career. More than that, Leonard was a stalwart defensively for San Antonio, repeatedly rising to the occasion on that end of the floor. As people have been asking who will take the reins of this Spurs team going forward when Duncan and company have moved on from the game of basketball, Leonard emphatically has looked up and, with fittingly few words, said “I got it.”
There’s a lot left to the unknown with the Spurs going forward. Will Duncan retire? Will Gregg Popovich retire? How long do Parker and Ginobili have left? However, Leonard has the future in his massive hand and Spurs fans should take solace in that. In the other hand? The Larry O’Brien Trophy.