San Antonio trailed by 16 in the game's first seven minutes but
outscored the Heat 55-29 over the decisive second and third quarters
and were never threatened.
James, the four-time NBA MVP who led the Heat to titles the past two
seasons, scored 31 points but was largely ineffective after the
first quarter when he had 17 points.
"That's how team basketball should be played," James said of the
Spurs. "It's selfless. Guys move, cut, pass, you've got a shot, you
take it, but it's all for the team and it's never about the
individual. That's the brand of basketball.
"They were the much better team."
The Spurs were paced in scoring by the Finals' MVP Kawhi Leonard who
had 22 points, while Argentina's Manu Ginobili added 19.
San Antonio hit just one of its first 12 shots and trailed 22-6 but
outscored the Heat 25-11 in the second quarter and led 47-40 at the
San Antonio, who lost to the Heat in the finals a year ago, opened
the second half on a 18-4 run to seize a 65-44 lead, igniting the
crowd hungry for the Spurs' first title since 2007 and their fifth
A three-point shot by Australian Patrick Mills and a jumper by
Duncan hiked the Spurs' lead to 75-53 late in the third quarter and
the rout was on.
"It just feels like a dream to me," said Leonard. "This is my second
finals appearance in my third year. I've been just progressing each
year and the team has also.
"Losing in the semifinals my first year, and losing the championship
my second year, and now winning in my third year, it just makes you
believe in your craft and your hard work."
James hit five of seven shots in the first quarter but nailed only
five of 14 the rest of the way. The Heat shot 40 percent from the
floor, including just seven of 25 from three-point range.
Miami was the first team to play in four successive finals since the
Boston Celtics in 1984-87, and were hoping to become the first
three-time champion since the Los Angeles Lakers more than a decade
The title was the fifth for the Spurs' Tim Duncan, a 38-year-old,
14-time All-Star who has not yet said if he will continue to play.
"I know it is coming to an end," he said.
"I don't know if I will have a chance to do this again... It's a
real emotional time."
Mercurial Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has coached Duncan to each
of his titles, joins Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla and Pat
Riley as the only coaches with five NBA crowns.
[to top of second column]
In the 2013 finals against Miami, the Spurs squandered a five-point
lead in the last 28 seconds of regulation of Game Six to lose
103-100 in overtime.
The Spurs were so close to the title, the court was being lined with
tape for the post-game award ceremony. Given new life, Miami went on
to win Game Seven and the championship.
"We remembered what happened last year," Duncan said.
"How it felt in our locker room and we used it, built on it and got
San Antonio came back this year with the same roster, except for the
addition of Italian Marco Bellinelli.
Quality minutes in the finals from Frenchman Boris Diaw, Mills and
Brazilian Tiago Splitter, and improved play in the finals from
Ginobili, lifted the Spurs to the title.
James played well overall in the finals but Dwyane Wade and Chris
Bosh were unable to score consistently and the point guard pair of
Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole underperformed.
Bosh hit six of 14 shots for 13 points on Sunday, while Wade totaled
11 points on four of 12 shooting.
"They're that good," Bosh said of the Spurs.
"I thought we'd get over the hump and we never did. They dominated
us in this series, frankly speaking, and they deserve everything
that they got."
The Heat's 'Big Three' - James, Wade and Bosh - are all eligible to
become free agents in the offseason, and, despite winning the
Eastern Conference in each of their four seasons together, it is
uncertain if they will return.
(Editing by Julian Linden/Greg Stutchbury)
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