The Spurs reign supreme, and somehow, it's all LeBron James' fault. San Antonio officially becomes Title Town, Texas, while Miami's Three-Peat dreams are extinguished like a cigar on South Beach. Oh, and Kawhi Leonard registers actual emotion! Here's what you missed while you were watching Game of Thrones: The Flagrant 2 for Monday a.m.
Spurs Get One For The Thumb
It wasn't supposed to be this easy.
The San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA Championship on Sunday night, once again dominating the Miami Heat in the Game 5 of a highly anticipated Finals rematch that ended up being a shockingly one-sided affair.
The Spurs won 104-87 behind 22 points from Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard – at 22 years old, he's the youngest MVP since his teammate, Tim Duncan, won the award in 1999 – and a balanced (dare we say "Dad-like") scoring sheet that included 16 from Tony Parker, 19 from Manu Ginobili and 17 from Patty Mills, who put the game out of reach with an incendiary third quarter. Then they all partied relatively hard:
Here's Coach Pop getting all sorta-emotional following the win:
It was San Antonio's third-straight blowout win in the series, but at the onset, it didn't look like would be; led by LeBron James, Miami stormed to a 22-6 lead in the first, but just as quickly, things reverted back to the script. The Spurs clamped down, limiting Miami to just 11 total points in the second quarter, then 18 in the third, and that was that. A series that began with so much hype ended with bench players for both teams playing out the stretch, the Spurs' stars celebrating title number five while James and the Heat looked on dejectedly.
As for the champs, they avenged last year's heartbreaking Finals loss to Miami, and may have finally earned their place in the pantheon of the NBA. That their fifth championship came seven years after their fourth is a testament to their consistency, and the fact that they steamrolled the Heat – and pretty much everyone else – in this postseason speaks to their dominance. San Antonio outscored opponents by 214 points in these playoffs, and their 12 wins by 15 points or more is a record.
The Heat Reportedly Also Played In This Series
The blowout losses weren't the only recurring storyline in these NBA Finals: LeBron James' lack of a supporting cast was another, and that was once again the case in Game 5.
James led all scorers with 31 – just as he had done in four of the five games in this series – but his supporting cast watched from the wings. Chris Bosh had 13, Dwyane Wade had 11, and no one else on the roster cracked double digits. That these last three games were so one-sided certainly had something to do with the Spurs' superior depth, and Game 5 was a microcosm of that disparity. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis showed their age all night, going a combined 2-10 from the field. Michael Beasley somehow played 17 minutes in this game, and he was the Heat's best player off the pine, leading all reserves (and some of the starters) with 9 points.
It's practically a given that LeBron's detractors will somehow pin this Finals loss on him (right on cue, Skip Bayless has something stupid to say), but he was the only Heat player to show up for this series and, more often than not, he was playing 1-on-5. Miami's bench betrayed them in the Finals, but their starters didn't do much to help the cause either. If James was cramping up, sprinting to the bathroom mid-game, or "fading," you can probably understand why: Carrying a franchise on your back is tiring work.
Who knows? Maybe Carmelo can help.
The U.S. National Team begins World Cup play on Monday, taking on Ghana at 6 p.m. ET. The Americans are looking to avenge their exits at the last two Cups, both of which came courtesy of the Black Stars. Good news, now our coach thinks we might actually have a chance! ... This Heat fan didn't take their NBA Finals loss all that hard. ... Happy belated Father's Day to anyone who's managed to slip one by the keeper, but a special shout-out to this badass dad in San Francisco. Dude makes fatherhood look easy.