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October 26, 2014

Basketball — NBA

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ginóbili earns fourth NBA ring with the Spurs

Spurs'' Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Emanuel Ginóbili pose with the trophy.

Emanuel Ginóbili, who turns 37 next month, won his fourth NBA ring as a key player for the San Antonio Spurs, which delivered a decisive end to LeBron James’ two-year reign atop the basketball world by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 to win the the series.

SAN ANTONIO — Emanuel Ginóbili was a champion as an NBA rookie. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker won titles in their second seasons.

Success came so quickly and frequently 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 their fingers.

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 today.”

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,” Ginóbili 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.

Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 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 percent in the series.

A decade and a half after winning their first title, the Spurs remain the NBA’s model organization, 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 organizations who would fit the Spurs’ way of doing things and mesh with Duncan (US), Parker (France) and Ginóbili (Argentina), who have teamed for 117 postseason victories, the most by one trio.

AP

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