On June 15th in 2014, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 104-87 in Game 5 and clinched their fifth championship in franchise history.
The game, however, wasn't as easy as the scoreline displays. Coming into the game, the Spurs held a 3-1 series lead - one that nobody had comeback from in the Finals - but that wasn't going to stop LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Seven minutes into the game at the AT&T Center, the Heat jumped to its biggest lead of 16 (22-6). James had 16 of the Heat's 28 first-quarter points as the Spurs began Game 5 missing 11 of their first 12 shots.
The game turned with the visitors went nearly seven full minutes with a made field goal. During the Heat's drought, the Spurs went on a 16-2 run to turn a seven-point deficit after the first quarter to a seven-point halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Spurs put it out of reach with a 23-9 run before taking care of business in the fourth quarter to win it all.
Kawhi Leonard led the way with 22 points (7-of-10 FG) and 10 rebounds as five Spurs finished in double figures. Off the bench, the duo of Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills combined for 36 points, outscoring their counterparts by 15. For the Heat, LeBron James was the top contributor with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
Leonard was named Finals MVP, with averages of 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 61.2% shooting from the field. At just 22 years, he became the third-youngest Finals MVP in NBA history.
The victory gave the Spurs their first title since 2007 and avenged the heartbreaking loss they suffered against the Heat in the 2013 championship series.
The 2014 Spurs' championship team was one of the most diverse in NBA history. Of the 13 Spurs players that took the floor in the Finals, the team had players from countries all over the world, including France (Boris Diaw, Tony Parker- French nationality but born in Belgium), Argentina (Manu Ginobili), Italy (Marco Belinelli), Australia (Aron Baynes, Patty Mills), Brazil (Tiago Splitter), and Canada (Cory Joseph).
Other notable events on June 15th
- In 2001, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 108-96 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to clinch their second consecutive title and the 13th in franchise history. The win capped off the then-most dominating playoff run in NBA playoff history of 15-1, which was bettered later by the 2017 Golden State Warriors (16-1). Shaquille O'Neal was named Finals MVP with averages of 33.0 points, 15.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 3.4 blocks, thus, becoming only (then) the third player after Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon to win consecutive Finals MVP awards.
- In 2003, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets 88-77 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to clinch their second title in franchise history. Argentinian Manu Ginobili and French national Tony Parker were the first players from their respective countries to win an NBA Championship.
- In 2004, the Detroit Pistons clinched their third championship in franchise history and the first since 1990 when they stunned the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
- In 2008, Kobe Bryant came up with a clutch steal that led to a fastbreak dunk, ensuring the Los Angeles Lakers won Game 5, 103-98 to stretch the NBA Finals to a Game 6 back in Boston.
- In 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers win Game 6 by 22 points (89-67) against the Boston Celtics. Thus, forcing a winner-takes-all Game 7 between the two previous NBA Champions.
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