Spurs win 5th NBA Championship, drop Heat in five games
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter June 15, 2014 9:46PM
Updated: June 16, 2014 12:17AM
SAN ANTONIO — For a few minutes on Sunday night, there was no talk of Big Threes, legacies or South Beach.
It was nice, almost peaceful.
The San Antonio Spurs deserved at least that after their 104-87 victory in Game 5 capped off as dominant a Finals as the NBA has seen in the last decade.
They were rightfully given their few minutes in the spotlight to soak in a championship that slipped through their hands last June.
And only a few minutes.
After all, this always has been about the Miami Heat. The most polarizing team in sports always will be under the microscope — win or lose.
So while Kawhi Leonard walked away with Finals MVP honors, Tim Duncan won his fifth title and coach Gregg Popovich continued to cement his status as the best X’s-and-O’s guru in the game, the dissection of the Heat already had started before the confetti was swept off the AT&T Center court.
Two championships and four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade back in 2010 might not be accomplished for quite some time. But with all three players holding options this summer, if the Heat’s superstars are breaking up, was it good enough?
“It’s not easy to make it all the way this far,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even as painful as it feels right now, you have to have perspective. You can’t be jaded enough not to appreciate that.
“None of us really feels those emotions right now, but at some point this summer, hopefully, we can step back and gain some perspective about this.’’
James, who finished with 31 points, held a similar opinion.
“I’ll take 50 percent in four years in championships any day,’’ James said. “Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’s just the nature of the game. But I know me and D-Wade and C.B. are not proud of the way we played [this series].’’
Wade and Bosh shouldn’t be, especially Wade, who suddenly resembled a below-average player. James, however, averaged 28.2 points and 7.8 rebounds, shooting 57 percent from the field with very little help. In other words, the Cleveland days all over again.
But James will have to shoulder most of the blame. Greatness does that.
“[The Spurs] were the much better team,’’ James said. “That’s how team basketball should be played.’’
Unfortunately for James, he has no say on how basketball players and teams should be judged.
Bosh called the Spurs “the best team I’ve ever played against.’’
That should’ve been the theme of the night. But that’s just not the world we live in, and no team knows that more than the Heat.