The foregone conclusion of Miami’s three-peat turned into an optical illusion, as the Spurs smacked the two-time defending champions 104-87 in Game 5 to win the 2014 NBA Finals . What was expected to be an historic three-peat for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – the trio that teamed up in 2011 and reached four consecutive NBA Finals, winning two in a row – turned into a fifth title for Tim Duncan. The lopsided series was an emphatic punctuation mark on his Hall of Fame career and the NBA dynasty that beast of a boy from St. Croix built over a 16-year career.
Bosh called this year’s version of the Spurs the best team he has ever played against, and James and Wade agreed.
"They dominated us in every facet" James said.
Statistically, King James did everything he could do (31 points) to keep the Heat in the series, but San Antonio’s D was able to limit his ability to make others around him better. That’s LBJ’s greatest weapon as a player and with the bench being unproductive (The Heat’s other starters combined to score just 32 points), Wade hobbling and Bosh morphing into a 7-foot jump-shooter, the three-man show which made Miami the hottest NBA ticket, was thoroughly dominated and bewildered by the crisp passing, athleticism and finely-tuned basketball machine led by coach Greg Popovich – who went to school on Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
James began Game 5 with one of his typical early-game offensive tears, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. But as was the case throughout the series, the Spurs’ offense was the truth and after the first quarter, the Spurs outscored the Heat 82-58 to close out the series 4-1.
"It’s been a hell of a ride in these four years," said Wade, who mustered just 11 points in Game 5.
Spoelstra agreed and said the overall success of the team shouldn’t be marred by losing two of the four NBA Finals they reached.
“As painful as it feels right now, you have to have perspective," Spoelstra said. "Even the team we were playing against has never made it to four straight Finals. You can’t be jaded enough to not appreciate that. None of us really feel those emotions right now, but at some point this summer hopefully we can step back and gain some perspective about this. It takes a special group."