Sunday, June 15, 2014


          The San Antonio Spurs have won their 5th NBA Championship in team history (all since 1999), with an incredible 104-87 Game 5 win to take the series 4-1 against the Miami Heat.  LeBron James played well, with 31 points, but he wasn't able to play up to his best-player-in-the-world status and take over the game.  Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard seemed to match LeBron blow for blow, as he had a stat line of 34 minutes, 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and made 3 for 4 3-point attempts.  Australian point guard Patty Mills had an insane performance off the bench with 17 points while going 5 for 8 from 3-point range.  Manu Ginobili seemed to turn back the clock with an other-wordly performance, draining threes with hands in his face and making plays consistently by driving to the lane, including an incredible one-handed dunk.  Tony Parker didn't even have a point until late in the third quarter, but at that point the Spurs were already put by 20 points.

          A total group effort by the Spurs, once again, won this game for them, and coach Gregg Popovich deserves all the credit in the world.  With Ray Allen starting for the Heat in place of a struggling Mario Chalmers, Miami got off to a blazing start and was leading 22-6 at one point in the first quarter, as the Spurs missed 11 of their first 12 shots.  However, Popovich got his team to come storming back behind a bench that outscored Miami's 47 to 24.  The Heat just had no one to turn to since they started Allen, and the starters themselves couldn't even do any damage after the initial rush.  LeBron James is now 2 for 5 in the NBA Finals, a mark which will most definitely affect his legacy, and his hopes at a three-peat are officially over.

          These Finals have proven that one player does not win a series, but a team does, as well as the fact that age is nothing but a number (Tim Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 36, and Tony Parker is 32).  Truly every player on the Spurs deserves all the credit in the world for this win, especially the one-and-only Tim Duncan, who may have played his final game in front of the San Antonio faithful (he is a free agent after this season and is 38 years old).  Tim Duncan has exemplified toughness, loyalty, and hard work throughout his 17 years in the NBA, and will leave as one of the best players to have every played the game.  He now has 5 championship rings, and a possibly final stat line of 33 minutes, 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and made 5 for 10 field goal attempts.  As each starter for the Spurs checked out of the game at the end of the fourth quarter one-by-one, each received a standing ovation, but none was louder than cheers for Tim Duncan.  And deservedly so.

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