The San Antonio Spurs have won their fifth NBA title since 1999 after a comprehensive 104-87 thrashing of the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was the Spurs’ leading scorer with 22 points (7-of-10 FG), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Leonard is the third-youngest NBA Finals MVP in history at the age of 22 years and 350 days.
But it was Manu Ginobili’s injection that proved most significant on the night. Manu had 19 points (6-of-11 FG), 4 rebounds and 4 assists. If you went by the statistics, you’d be under the impression Leonard was the key man, but that wasn’t the case.
The Heat started off in perfect fashion, exploding out of the blocks and taking a 22-6 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter.
LeBron James had a game-high 31 points (10-of-21 FG), 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, but received little help from his teammates.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 24 points, 10-of-26 from the floor.
James attacked with purpose early and finished the first quarter with 17 points (5-of-6 FG), 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks.
The Spurs were cold as they connected on just one of their first eleven shots to start the game.
Manu checked in a little earlier than usual and was the catalyst for a 12-0 San Antonio run (Ginobili scored the first 6 of those 12 points, in fact). The Spurs got to within four, but James kept Miami on top with incredible plays like this stepback three as the shot clock expired:
For the first time all series Miami held a lead at the end of the first quarter: Heat 29 Spurs 22.
San Antonio kicked off the second quarter in style when Boris Diaw (who had the most assists by any player in the entire series) found Leonard for an alley-oop dunk:
Tony Parker was having an off night, hitting 0 of his first 10 shot attempts, but somehow San Antonio was right in it.
San Antonio continued to push and with 4:48 to go in the half, a Leonard three-pointer gave the Spurs their first lead of the game.
Miami began to struggle as they missed seven straight from the floor. That contributed to a 14-0 Spurs run, which was topped off by this emphatic slam by Ginobili:
Manu then hit one from deep and the Spurs found themselves up 47-40 at the half, outscoring Miami 25 to 11 in the second period.
Spurs 47: 17-of-43 FG (39.5%), 6-of-15 3FG (40%), 7-of-10 FT (70%), 21 rebounds (5 offensive), 9 assists, 4 steals and 3 turnovers.
Heat 40: 13-of-34 FG (38.2%), 4-15 3FG (26.7%), 10-11FT (90.9%), 22 rebounds (1 offensive), 7 assists, 2 steals, 7 turnovers and 4 blocks.
Danny Green and Tony Parker were 0-of-11 combined at the break, but their side was still up by 7.
After two quarters LeBron had 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 2 blocks, while the rest of his team was 7-of-22 from the floor.
No points were scored until the 8:52 mark of the third period.
It took the Heat just over four minutes to record their first points of the second half. They had also been outscored 50-20 by San Antonio since their 16-point lead in the first quarter.
The game dropped off a little, but that was the calm before the storm.
Tiago Splitter, who was left embarrassed in the 2013 Finals after being denied at the rim by LeBron James, inflicted some revenge that ignited the Spurs:
Patty Mills again proved his worth as he dropped 17 points (6-of-10 FG and 5-of-8 3FG), 1 rebound and 2 assists in 18 minutes off the bench; 14 of those coming in the third quarter, he was electric:
The Spurs outscored Miami 30-17 in the penultimate quarter of basketball for the season.
The final period began and to get back in the contest the Heat needed to make their move early; a shot clock violation on their first possession wasn’t what coach Erik Spoelstra had drawn up.
Miami managed to cut the lead to 14 with 10:33 left, but unfortunately for the Heat, Tony Parker decided to show up.
Parker finished the night with 16 points (7-of-18 FG), 1 rebound and 2 assists. These numbers might not sound impressive by his standards, but he connected on six consecutive shots in the final period to help San Antonio close it out.
The trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are the winningest trio in playoff history with 117 victories – seven more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and ‘Magic’ Johnson.
All four of the Spurs’ Finals victories were by 15 or more points, leaving them with an average winning margin of +14 points per game in these NBA Finals – the largest in Finals history.
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