July 29, 2014
San Antonio Spurs clinch NBA title over Miami Heat
The San Antonio Spurs delivered a decisive end to LeBron James' two-year reign atop the basketball world by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 yesterday to win the NBA Finals four games to one.
San Antonio trailed by 16 in the game's first seven minutes but outscored the Heat 55-29 over the decisive second and third quarters and were never threatened.
James, the four-time NBA MVP who led the Heat to titles the past two seasons, scored 31 points but was largely ineffective after the first quarter when he had 17 points.
"That's how team basketball should be played," James said of the Spurs. "It's selfless. Guys move, cut, pass, you've got a shot, you take it, but it's all for the team and it's never about the individual. That's the brand of basketball.
"They were the much better team."
The Spurs were paced in scoring by the Finals' MVP Kawhi Leonard who had 22 points, while Argentina's Manu Ginobili added 19.
San Antonio hit just one of its first 12 shots and trailed 22-6 but outscored the Heat 25-11 in the second quarter and led 47-40 at the half.
San Antonio, who lost to the Heat in the finals a year ago, opened the second half on a 18-4 run to seize a 65-44 lead, igniting the crowd hungry for the Spurs' first title since 2007 and their fifth overall.
A three-point shot by Australian Patrick Mills and a jumper by Duncan hiked the Spurs' lead to 75-53 late in the third quarter and the rout was on.
"It just feels like a dream to me," said Leonard. "This is my second finals appearance in my third year. I've been just progressing each year and the team has also.
"Losing in the semifinals my first year, and losing the championship my second year, and now winning in my third year, it just makes you believe in your craft and your hard work."
James hit five of seven shots in the first quarter but nailed only five of 14 the rest of the way. The Heat shot 40 percent from the floor, including just seven of 25 from three-point range.