- POSTED: 16 Jun 2014 11:56
The San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA title since 1999 by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday to take the championship series four games to one.
SAN ANTONIO: The San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA title since 1999 by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday to take the championship series four games to one.
The Spurs captured the best-of-seven series by dominating the final three games, spoiling the Heat's chances of clinching their third title in a row.
San Antonio are the first team to win the NBA finals after losing a game seven in the finals the year before since the Detroit Pistons did it in the 1988-89 season.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich claimed his fifth ring and now trails just behind Phil Jackson (11) and Red Auerbach's (nine) for the most in history. Pat Riley and John Kundla also have five titles.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in scoring in the final three blowout wins and was named MVP of the finals.
Leonard scored 22 points in game five and finished with 10 rebounds in front of a standing-room only crowd of 18,581 at the AT&T Center arena. His 29 points in a 111-92 game three victory was a career high in the playoffs or regular season.
The Spurs shot just 28 per cent from the floor in the first quarter and trailed by 16 at one stage before turning it around in the second quarter to take a 47-40 lead into halftime.
Argentina's Manu Ginobili and Australian Patty Mills came off the bench to score 19 and 17 points respectively for the Spurs, whose bruised egos wouldn't let them forget last year's loss to the Heat.
LeBron James tallied a game high 31 points and had 10 rebounds while Chris Bosh scored 13 points for the Heat, who were competing in the finals for the fourth straight year.
The Spurs' big three of Tony Parker, Ginobili and Tim Duncan have now won four titles together.
Duncan also joined John Salley as the only players to win titles in three decades and is also the first player to win championships 15 years apart with the same team. Former Boston Celtic Bill Russell went a dozen years between his first and last title in 1969.
The Spurs are hoping to have their core group return next season along with Popovich, who said Saturday he would be back.
Duncan, who will earn $10 million next year, also suggested he would come back for an 18th season.
Ginobili, who turns 37 next month, still has one year left on a two-year deal he signed that will pay him $7 million in 2014-15.
James put on a clinic in the first quarter, scoring 17 points on five-of-seven shooting from the field as the Heat started strong in their bid to fend off elimination.
He made two-of-three three-point attempts and sank all five of his free throws. He also had six rebounds and two blocks.
The Spurs shot just 28 per cent in the first, a far cry from the 76 per cent they shot in the first half of game three.
Miami opened the game on an 8-0 run as they were determined to avoid the sluggish starts that have plagued them all series.
San Antonio answered with a 12-0 surge over a two minute stretch that cut the Heat lead to 22-18 with just under three minutes left in the first.
Leonard hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds left to cap the scoring and allow San Antonio to get within seven at the end of the first.
A determined James was hitting shots from near and far for Miami who led by 16 points at one stage of the first quarter.
He drained one 28-foot jumper from beyond the arc to give Miami a 25-18 lead with 2:27 left in the first as he scored almost twice as many points as all the Spurs' starters combined.
But just as the first quarter was dominated by Miami, the second belonged to the Spurs, who outscored the Heat 25-11 to take control of the contest.
Ginobili's high-flying dunk late in the second quarter capped a 14-0 burst by San Antonio. Ginobili tucked the ball under his arm and brushed off Heat defender Ray Allen like he was swatting a fly before slamming it home left handed.
Boris Diaw missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer as the Spurs took a seven-point lead into the break.
Mills paced the attack in the third with 14 points as the Spurs blew the game open with 30 points in the quarter.
Mills, of Canberra, made all five of his field goals and was a perfect four-of-four from three-point range to help San Antonio take a commanding 77-58 lead into the fourth.