After a rough start to Game 5, the San Antonio Spurs did what they have been doing all series: dominating on both ends of the floor.
The result was a decisive 104-87 victory, and the franchise’s fifth NBA championship.
The first quarter was eerily reminiscent of another do-or-die game for the Heat and LeBron James: Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics. Just like tonight, the Heat were on the road and LeBron came roaring out of the gate with a monster performance. His stat line against Boston ended with a transcendent 45-15-5 in a Heat win, and with 17 points and eight rebounds through the first quarter, it looked like we were headed for the same result tonight.
At one point, Miami led 22-6 and San Antonio was 1-for-12 shooting. The gritty Spurs began climbing their way back into the game, though, chipping away at the Miami lead and overtaking them with 4:47 to go in the second quarter. The Spurs carried that momentum into halftime, and capped their first half run with an emphatic dunk by Manu Ginobili.
The third quarter began with some sloppy play from both teams, with Miami failing to score until over four minutes into the period. San Antonio, after some initial struggles, caught absolute fire. Over a four minute stretch in the middle third of the quarter, the Spurs went on a 16-4 run that opened their lead up from seven to 19.
Every time Miami rallied after that, the Spurs had an answer. The Heat never got within 14 points again, and the Spurs turned the fourth quarter into an extended celebration. Kawhi Leonard was named the Finals MVP, the youngest player to win the award since Tim Duncan in 1999.
Much more to come.