SAN ANTONIO (AP) — From their low moment in the NBA Finals, back to the top of the league.
The San Antonio Spurs turned the rematch with the Miami Heat into no match at all.
The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship Sunday night, ending the Heat’s two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games.
A year after their heartbreaking seven-game defeat, their only loss in six finals appearances, the Spurs won four routs to deny Miami’s quest for a third straight championship.
Kawhi Leonard, named the finals MVP, had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs. San Antonio added this title to the ones the Spurs won in 1999, 2003, ’05 and ’07. They nearly had another last year, but couldn’t hold off the Heat and lost in seven games.
San Antonio rebounded from an early 16-point deficit by outscoring the Heat 37-13 from the start of the second quarter to midway in the third.
The celebration the Heat canceled last season was on by the early second half Sunday, when the Spurs had finished digging their way out of an early 16-point hole and opened another huge lead.
LeBron James had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who lost their spot atop the NBA to the team that had it so long.
The Spurs won four titles in nine years, but hadn’t been back on top since 2007, making Foreigner’s “Feels Like the First Time” and appropriate song choice after the final buzzer.
Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich have been here for all of them, and it was the fourth for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who with Duncan are once again the reigning the Big Three in the NBA.
Photo: USA Today