Jun 16 2014, 2:11am CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
Patty Mills was the man of the hour in the San Antonio Spurs' title-clinching 104-87 Game 5 win over the Miami Heat on June 15.
The Heat actually got off to a fast start. They scored the game's first eight points and led by as many as 16 points at 22-6 on Ray Allen's three-pointer at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter, per NBA.com.
The Spurs then rattled off 12 straight points -- a three-point play by Manu Ginobili and two consecutive three-pointers from Kawhi Leonard and Mills -- to trim the deficit to just four.
Miami forward LeBron James then scored five of his team's next seven points to finish off the scoring in the first quarter, which ended with the Heat ahead by seven, 29-22.
San Antonio got to within three at the beginning of the second quarter when Leonard came out firing with a dunk and a jump shot. However, the Heat would re-establish a seven-point lead after Dwyane Wade made two free throws with 7:10 to go in the period.
Miami would then go scoreless for nearly five minutes -- a span which saw their opponents unleash 14 straight points to grab a 42-35 lead. San Antonio would maintain a 47-40 advantage at halftime.
This paved the way for Mills' third-quarter heroics.
Both teams got off to a cold start in the second half -- it wasn't until the 8:52 mark when Ginobili broke the dry spell with two free throws.
Just as the Spurs were about to break the game wide open, Mills waxed hot. He made a reverse layup and four triples in the third period. His last field goal of the quarter gave San Antonio a commanding 73-53 lead.
The Heat were never in it the rest of the way. They were vanquished by a stronger opponent, their quest for a three-peat foiled.
Leonard led the Spurs with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He was proclaimed NBA Finals MVP, and deservedly so after scoring a combined 71 points in the last three games. James topscored for the Heat with 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists in a losing effort.
"When the San Antonio Spurs reached the pinnacle for the first of five times and sparked this era that wouldn't end, the player would hoist the 2014 NBA Finals MVP trophy was an eight-year-old growing up in the Southern California town of Moreno Valley.
"It's that sustained success, more than anything else, that makes their run so remarkable.
"Fifteen years later, coach Gregg Popovich and his brand of old men did it again Sunday night inside a raucous AT&T Center -- with a whole lot of help from 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard.
"Their 104-87 Game 5 closeout win in the NBA Finals -- one in which Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds -- not only ended the Miami Heat's three-peat bid but polished the already-shiny legacy of the big man whose arrival from Wake Forest in 1997 started this whole special run, Tim Duncan.
"Leonard was asked if he saw that team that started it all.
"'I don't think I watched the Finals when I was sevey years old,' he said. 'I was busy playing kid games, running around.'
"Duncan remembers all of the titles. But called this one the most special. In part, because of how last year's run ended with the Spurs blowing a lead late in Game 6 and then losing Game 7. He had gone as far as to say after winning this year's Western Conference Finals that he was confident the Spurs would win it this time.
"'It makes last year OK,' Duncan said on the court after the game. That loss is the only one in six Finals for the Spurs. They won championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007 before this year's.
"David Robinson sat -- no, stood -- courtside, the iconid Spurs center who retired in 2003 celebrating with the rest of the Spurs faithful. He pumped his fist with a collared shirt on this time, not looking much older than the younger version of himself who paired with Duncan to win it all in 1999.
"They all stood on their feet in those final minutes, the long, white balloons waving and the crowd exploding when Duncan sat for the last time with 2:12 remaining. His face stoic as always, he hugged teammates and staff members before Manu Ginobili was given the same adulation not long after.
"'This is a team, and that's what makes this so, so great,' Ginobili said at the Spurs' trophy acceptance ceremony."
Source: Bleacher Report
Source: CBS New York
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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