the san antonio spurs defeated the miami heat 104-87 at home on sunday to win the 2014 nba championship. the spurs played brilliantly and dominated in all facets of the game, winning the series four games to one. they won their fifth title in franchise history, avenging last year's game seven loss to the defending champions in south beach.
san antonio forward kawhi leonard was named mvp. the 22 year-old leonard averaged 18 points on 61% shooting. he also had 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and several key blocked shots in the last three games of the series. leonard is the youngest finals mvp since duncan in 1999. the soft-spoken leonard said afterwards, "right now, it's just surreal to me. i have a great group of guys behind me."
spurs coach gregg popovich is currently the longest tenured coach in professional sports. popovich opened up the offense three years ago, turning a methodical half court unit into a team which thrives on relentless ball movement, savvy interior passing and three-point shooting. he won his third coach of the year award, led them to a league-best 62 wins - and a desired rematch with miami.
popovich said of their turning point in last year's finals, "i've said many times, a day didn't go by where i didn't think about game six..so i think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, i think speaks volumes about how they're constituted and what kind of fiber they have."
tim duncan, manu ginobli and tony parker became the winningest trio in nba history. they have teamed for 117 postseason victories, breaking the old record set by kareem abdul-jabbar, michael cooper and magic johnson of the los angeles lakers in the late 80's. duncan said, "it makes last year ok." parker said, "we wanted to redeem ourselves. i'm just glad we were able to do that."
the spurs erased an early 16-point deficit in the first quarter. their defensive intensity went up a notch and the heat lost their offensive rhythm. san antonio lost game two by two points at home, but won three consecutive games by a total of 57 points. they denied the heat their quest for a third straight championship. miami's impressive fourth straight finals equaled the celtics run from 1984-1987.
san antonio shot 52.6% from the floor against miami, a finals record in the open shot clock era. the spurs averaged 105.6 points per game, the most since the lakers beat the nets in 2002. all four wins against the heat were by 15 or more points, and they also won 12 games by 15 or more points, another league playoff record.
15 years after winning their first title in 1999, when duncan was in his second season, the spurs remain the nba's model organization: they succeed in a small market, win 50 or more games regularly, and rarely benefit from high draft picks. san antonio found players overseas (or in other organizations) who affirm the spurs' selfless spirit.
"you showed the world how beautiful this game is," said commissioner adam silver during the postgame award ceremony. heat coach erik spoelstra said, "they played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. there's no other way to say it."
lebron james, who finished game five with 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks said, "we had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that's why they're the champions in 2014." the spurs won four titles in nine years - but their last came in 2007. as such, foreigner's "feels like the first time" was an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.