Kawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs are NBA champions once more. 

For the fifth time in franchise history, the Spurs hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy Sunday night. San Antonio overcame a horrendous start to defeat the Miami Heat, 104-87, in game five of the NBA Finals.

After struggling in the first two games of the series, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard turned things around and played phenomenally the rest of the series. Leonard sealed the series with 22 points and nine rebounds in the series-clinching game, earning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

“Right now it’s surreal to me,” Leonard said. “They all pushed me. The fans pushed me, Coach Pop pushed me, the fans pushed me.”

After losing to the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, the Spurs used the heartbreaking series to fuel them throughout the season. San Antonio won 62 games in the regular season and captured the top seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the Finals.

But the playoff road wasn’t easy. The Dallas Mavericks took the Spurs to seven games in the first round but San Antonio prevailed. The young Portland

Trailblazers didn’t give San Antonio much of a challenge as the Spurs were able to win that series in five games.

The final team standing in the way of a return trip to the finals was the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team which kept San Antonio out of the finals in 2012. The two teams battled, trading blowout victories in the first five contests.

But Game 6 proved to be the ultimate challenge. The Thunder took San Antonio into overtime, but the Spurs emerged victorious yet again.

In the finals, the Spurs got revenge in five games. San Antonio blew out the Heat in three of its five victories and won the series in San Antonio.

The Spurs will raise their fifth NBA championship banner when the 2014-2015 season begins in October.

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was a non-factor in the first two games of the 2014 NBA Finals, but Leonard put his stamp on the series with a dominating performance in game three.

Leonard was aggressive all night as he worked his way to a career performance. Leonard put together the best shooting performance of his NBA career Tuesday night, shooting 10-13 from the field and finishing with 29 points, leading the Spurs to a 111-92 victory over the Miami Heat.

“(Leonard) was just himself,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s how he’s played all year long. He’s got to be one of our better players on the court or we’re not good enough, that’s just the way it is.”
While Leonard was fantastic, the Spurs team play was phenomenal. San Antonio shot a historic 25-33 in the first half, building a 20-point lead by halftime.

But Miami wasn’t ready to give up. The Heat put on a furious rally in the third quarter, led by guard Dwyane Wade, cutting the Spurs lead to seven. While Miami continued to battle, it couldn’t find a way to overcome San Antonio’s historic performance in the half. With the Heat loss, their perfect home record in the playoffs was ruined.

“They were very aggressive, and we didn’t match that,” Miami forward LeBron James said. “They came in with a desperation that we just didn’t match. Just because it’s our fourth final doesn’t mean anything. That don’t guarantee a win.”

James was sensational in game two, but was less effective in game three as San Antonio found a way to disrupt his rhythm. Once the Spurs were able to get James off his game, the rest of the Miami offense struggled.

Now Miami must focus on getting back in the series before they head back to San Antonio.

"The problem is we are down 2-1. That's the problem,” Wade said. “We have to figure out how to even it up."

The Heat will get a chance to tie it up in game four, which occurs 8 p.m. Thursday in Miami.

When two of the league's deepest and most talented teams collided Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the results could've hardly been better. This game had a little something for everybody: intense pace, execution and mind-blowing heroics from superstars. 

The rest versus rust debate regarding the San Antonio Spurs after ten days off was quickly and decisively laid to rest after a blistering first quarter. Down four at the half, the patient Spurs got what they needed to come back for a 92-88 statement win and a 1-0 lead in the Finals. And all with only four turnovers. On the road. In the finals.

Tim Duncan was his usual consistent self, putting up a more-than-solid 20 points and 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili chipped in 13 points and both Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard combined for 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting with 15 rebounds.  And then there was Tony Parker. 

Parker finished with 21 points and 50 percent shooting with six assists, though it felt more like 50 points and 18 assists. Plus the crossover, the spin move. And that shotclock beater was essential. 

However, the Miami Heat did not give up easily. The Heat outscored the Spurs in the first two quarters. Dwayne Wade scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and Chris Bosh went for 14 points. Ray Allen went 3-of-4 from the three point line and finished with 13 points from the bench. LeBron James notched a triple double (18/18/10) but failed to meet expectations, scoring 18 points in Game 1. 

In Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, the Spurs fell to the Miami Heat 84-103 to tie the series at one win apiece. The Heat took advantage of an uncharacteristic fourth quarter breakdown and 16 turnovers by the Spurs. 

The game was won towards the end of the third quarter when Miami ripped off a 33-5 run in which they had 6-of-7 shooting, 5-of-5 coming from the three point range. 

San Antonio's Big Three struggled throughout the contest combining for 27 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and nine turnovers. Parker had 13 points with five assists and five rebounds. Duncan had what was arguably the worst playoff performance of his career with nine points, 11 rebounds and only one assist, shooting just 3-of-13. 

The Spurs, however, did get some help from their bench in Leonard, who contributed nine points, 14 rebounds and two assists. Green was perfect from the three-point range shooting 6-of-6. Former Longhorn Cory Joseph added eight points and three rebounds. 

James contributed 17 points for the Heat with eight rebounds and seven assists. Bosh had his best game since facing the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 6-of-10. Wade had 10 points with two rebounds and six assists. 

Mario Chalmers, however, headlined for the Heat. Chalmers went for 19 points and four rebounds. 

The Spurs and Heat face off Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in San Antonio for Game 3.