San Antonio Spurs win NBA Championship: Instant Reaction and Social Media Recap

The San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA championship with a 104-87 rout of the Miami Heat in Game Five.

Matt Zemek: For me, the telltale moment of Game 5 arrived when the Heat led, 22-9, and seemed to be on their way toward — no, not necessarily winning, but certainly changing the energy of the series.

The Spurs were tight, squeezing the trigger a little too anxiously. Then, one of Miami’s most experienced players, Shane Battier, got into a shoving-and-shouting match with Manu Ginobili, instead of just allowing some contact to run its course. Ever since that moment, Ginobili came alive. Soon, the energy of the building followed, and the Spurs’ return to supremacy was just a matter of time.

The moment and the transformation it engineered pointed to something profound . . . not so much about the vanquished Heat, but about the Spurs and Ginobili in particular.

No Spur looked more feeble or visually pathetic at the end of the 2013 Finals than Manu. He was a broken-down horse, on his last legs, looking like he and his career had so little left to give.

In these Finals, Ginobili turned back the clock several years, all while Dwyane Wade — who instructively came alive late in the 2013 Finals — seemed to age 58 years. In so many ways, the Spurs’ oldsters becoming younger was the story of their whole season. Duncan and Manu carrying an injured Tony Parker through Game 6 against Oklahoma City was, in retrospect, the toughest thing this team achieved in the postseason. Once they got over that hurdle and shrugged off early-series nerves against the Heat, they were home free.

Philip Rossman-Reich: Wow, just wow. I do not know if there is anything more that needs to be said about the Spurs. They just out-classed the Heat in every way to win their fifth NBA championship.

Miami came out with the right energy and the right urgency. LeBron James was in attack mode and he was playing like there was no tomorrow. He was right about that and did everything he could. Miami went out to a 22-6 lead and made everyone know they would not go quietly into that good night.

Then the Spurs punched back. They upped their intensity and played with a desperation and intensity of a team down 3-1 rather than up 3-1. They began fighting for their lives. And execution won out.

San Antonio was the better team in every single way. The only thing the Heat had over the Spurs all series was LeBron James. And James was simply incapable of carrying the team on his own. We knew that from his failed attempts with the Cavaliers all those years ago. This team started feeling like that as this series went on. We know how that ended, Miami.

Tonight is about the Spurs though. They just were precise and calm. They stuck to their gameplan and rotations. They increased their intensity and increased their focus and execution. That is how you win championships.

By the time the Spurs got rolling in the third quarter and put this game firmly and fully out of reach, you could see the frustration with the Heat. There was not the same trust in each other or belief in their system. There was a team that was giving in to frustration. It happens in almost every series when a team is about to get beat.

The Heat finally could not stand the pressure of the biggest stage. The Spurs were just better. That is all that needs to be said.

Josh Burton: After the Heat jumped out to a 22-6 lead right after tip tonight, it appeared as if maybe they were going to be able to send this series back to Miami for a Game Six. Too bad, for the Heat, that they were matched up with the Spurs in this series, because they dominated the final three quarters of the game to close out one of the more dominant Finals wins in recent memory.

Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili would not let San Antonio lose this great opportunity to win, as they started drilled threes from all over the court to build a cushion for the Spurs over Miami. Their three-point prowess — 12 for 26, which is what they shot from deep in their Game Two loss as well — allowed them to work the interior, freeing Tim Duncan and Tony Parker up for easier layup attempts at the rim.

With the Spurs firing on all cylinders after the first quarter, the Heat’s recently-porous defense had no idea what to do, and with a 30-18 third quarter in favor of the home team, this game became a rout very, very quickly.

That meant, for the last 16 or so minutes, the deciding Game Five of the NBA Finals turned into a glorified scrimmage, as it was apparent to both teams that Tim Duncan would be earning his fifth NBA title tonight, regardless of what transpired on the floor. Michael Beasley, the retiring Shane Battier, James Jones, and even Toney Douglas checked in for the Heat while Matt Bonner and other reserves got some run for the Spurs. I do not think anyone was expecting that.

Anyway, the loss sends the Heat into an offseason with a lot of questions, which we will look into deeper on the site in the next few weeks. But for the Spurs, it firmly cements their status as one of the NBA’s best cores and overall teams of all time. Now that’s notable.

Social Media Recap

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily