Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals revealed exactly why the San Antonio Spurs have been so dominant for such a long period of time. The Miami Heat, who predictably started off with high intensity and noticeable aggressiveness, jumped out to a 22-6 lead early in the first quarter. However, the Spurs, energized by a packed AT&T Center, fought back like NBA champions should.
The resilience of this Spurs team was never in doubt. San Antonio could not have been closer to defeating the Heat last year in the Finals, coming within one rebound or one made free throw away from securing the series win. After this devastating loss, it seemed logical that San Antonio’s impressive run since 1999 would be over. However, just as the Spurs have done throughout the years, they responded by proving critics wrong.
San Antonio’s resolve was revealed directly after the first six minutes, when the Spurs cut the 16-point Miami lead to seven points at the conclusion of the first quarter. After an unusually lackluster start, the Spurs’ unrivaled ball movement began to appear. The Spurs coupled that with an improved defensive intensity, holding the Heat to only 11 points in the second quarter.
San Antonio continued to fight, chipping away at the Heat advantage until they took the lead with just under five minutes remaining in the quarter.
It is not shocking that a Spurs team led by veterans such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and coached by Gregg Popovich, revealed world-class resolve when it seemed like the Heat were sending the series back to Miami for Game 6. This poise is one every championship team possesses, and the resilience shown by this Spurs team is both unique and impressive.
Even in the first quarter when the Spurs started off poorly, they stuck to their game plan. This unwavering belief in Popovich’s system, even after last year’s demoralizing Finals loss to LeBron and company, is why this Spurs team has made history as the 2014 NBA champions.