NBA Finals: Spurs dethrone the King

By on June 17, 2014

Well, that escalated quickly. The Spurs overcame an early 22-6 deficit to storm back against the Heat on route to the 104-87 victory and the franchise’s 5th championship. The 5th championship for player-coach combo Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich cements their status as one of the best player-coach duos in all of sports. The Heat, and specifically LeBron, came out swinging to a 7 point lead after the first quarter on the back on LeBron’s 17 points. That was all the fun the Heat would have, it was all Spurs from that point on as they won the 2nd and 3rd quarters by a score of 55-29 and it was over, just like that. Arguably the Spurs best player, Tony Parker, started the game off 0-8 from the floor, but it didn’t matter. The Spurs simply have too many weapons; backup point guard from Australia, Patty Mills went 5-8 from the 3 point line and gave the Spurs a burst off the bench that stretched the lead in the 3rd quarter.

It’s not a coincidence that over these last 3 games where the Spurs have dominated the Heat, Kawhi Leonard has played his best basketball of his young career, becoming the youngest (22) Finals MVP since his teammate Tim Duncan won the honour in 1999. One of the biggest differences from last year’s and this year’s Finals is the health and play of Manu Ginobli. In the 2013 Finals Ginobli struggled with turnovers and was a -21 throughout the series. This year he’s shot 50% and had the highest +\- of any Spurs player. If Duncan and Popovich both return, they will likely find themselves back here again, as the favourites for next year’s championship.

The Heat did not make things easy for themselves, struggling to solve the Spurs defense and looking out-matched defensively. Chris Bosh and Ray Allen went 1-8 from the 3 point line, and the Heat’s offense struggled all night from the lack of spacing caused by this woeful shooting. The Heat were unlikely to outscore the Spurs this series so to win they would have had to rely on their usually staunch defense, but it let them down and become clear that the Heat need to use this offseason to get some younger legs on the team.

After the two teams split the first two games it seemed like we were heading for another classic 7 game series. This series will likely be framed as the fall of the mighty Heat and LeBron, but there may have been little they could do to beat the Spurs, who throughout these playoffs have been as dominant as some the NBAs best teams ever. The Spurs outscored their opponents by a record 214 points throughout these playoffs, shooting almost 50% from the floor. Not even the heroics of LeBron could make this a competitive series, the Spurs were a team operating at its peak, with every player in their optimal role and shooting the lights out. Fittingly with the beginning of the World Cup, the Spurs showed their own brand of the beautiful game and showed how basketball should be played. It will be interesting this summer to see what the Big 3 of Miami do as they all have the opportunity to opt-out of their contracts and become free agents. This series made it clear, the Heat need some help, this team was not good enough and in all likelihood may have lost to a number of teams from the tough western conference. Rumours have already begun to circulate about the potential of Carmelo Anthony going to join the big 3 in Miami. The way the Spurs played these playoffs it may not have mattered who were on the other side of the court, they were perfect.

About Joshua Murray

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