The NBA Finals have had stunning endings between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat for two straight years. Of course, the 2014 NBA Finals were far less dramatic than the year before, with a far different ending. Yet just as the Heat stunned the Spurs with their sudden rise from the dead in 2013, the Spurs completed their even more stunning three game run of blowouts for their fifth NBA title in Game 5 on June 15.
San Antonio's 104-87 went differently than its two blowouts in Miami for Games 3 and 4. For one thing, the Heat actually showed signs of life in the early going, to the point of taking a 22-6 lead in the first quarter. For another, the Spurs couldn't buy a basket, as Tony Parker and Danny Green were particularly cold.
Yet after LeBron James had 17 first quarter points and the Heat carried a 29-21 lead, everything collapsed. While Miami only had James catching fire in the first quarter, San Antonio had future finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili to carry it in the second. James only had three second quarter points as the rest of the Heat had only eight, while Leonard's 15 first half points and Ginobili's 14 carried the Spurs to a 47-40 halftime lead.
Game 5 then carried the same pattern as most of the NBA Finals, in that the Spurs turned it into a laughter by the end. Patty Mills also got hot with five three-pointers, all as Parker eventually warmed up and Tim Duncan added 14 points. James ended up with 31, yet only nine of those points came in the second and third quarter, when the Heat were run out of the stadium and off their two-year throne.
Even in what was technically one of their worst wins of the series, the Spurs got back up to 47 percent shooting and hit 12 three pointers. San Antonio paid the price for not putting Miami away in 2013, so it corrected that with an NBA Finals record-setting four wins by 15 points or more.
For years, the Spurs supposedly lived on borrowed time with the advanced age of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. But with the 22-year-old Leonard winning MVP, and the likes of Mills, Green and Boris Diaw emerging, San Antonio's window for a sixth title and beyond could stay open for another 5-10 years.