Game 5 By The Numbers
By Brian Martin
Here are the 20 numbers you need to know from San Antonio's 104-87 championship-clinching win in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals.
The Spurs won their fifth NBA championship on Sunday, becoming just the fourth team in NBA history to win five titles. Only the Celtics (17), Lakers (16) and Bulls (6) have more NBA titles than the Spurs.
The Spurs' last two titles have come against teams featuring LeBron James -- 2007 (Spurs vs. Cavaliers) and 2014 (Spurs vs. Heat). James has a 5-11 overall record and 1-2 series record in The Finals vs. San Antonio.
By coaching the Spurs to their fifth championship, Gregg Popovich ties John Kundla and Pat Riley for third-most titles by an NBA head coach. Popovich trails only Red Auerbach (9) and Phil Jackson (11) all time.
As John Schuhmann highlights in The Finals Stat, the total point differential of 70 in this series is the largest in Finals history, surpassing the 1965 Celtics (+63).
The Spurs won their four games by a total of 72 points, an average of 18.0 per game, while the Heat won their sole game of the series by just two points.
In addition to setting the Finals mark for point differential, the Spurs also set the Playoff record by outscoring their 2014 Playoff opponents by a combined 214 points, the largest plus/minus in a postseason ever.
All four of the Spurs wins in The Finals came by at least 15 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs are the first team in NBA history to win three straight games in the same Finals by 15 or more points. Also, Game 5 was the Spurs' 12th win by 15 or more points in the 2014 Playoffs, the most ever in a single postseason.
Tim Duncan became just the second player (along with John Salley) in NBA history to win an NBA championship in three different decades. Duncan is the first player to do so as a starter.
Winning their first title in 1999 and their fifth in 2014, there have been 15 years between titles for Duncan and Popovich, the longest span between titles for a player/coach duo ever. The 15-year span between Duncan's first and latest title is second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (17).
Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP on Sunday and at 22 years, 351 days old, he becomes the third-youngest recipient of the award since the award debuted in 1969. The only player younger than Leonard to be named Finals MVP was Magic Johnson, who did it twice (at age 20 and a younger 22).
Leonard becomes the youngest Finals MVP in the last 15 seasons, when current teammate Tim Duncan took the honor after leading the Spurs to their first title in 1999 at the age of 23. Leonard was just seven years old at the time.
Leonard also became just the sixth Finals MVP ever that was not selected to the All-Star team in the same season. In fact, Leonard has yet to be named an All-Star in his young NBA career, although that is likely to change in the near future.
The other five players to win Finals MVP while not making the All-Star Game that year are: Willis Reed (1973), Wes Unseld (1978), Cedric Maxwell (1981), Joe Dumars (1989) and Chauncey Billups (2004).
Leonard was the Spurs' most accurate shooter both from the field (61.2%) and from 3-point range (57.9%) in The Finals. He was the team's second-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game and third-leading rebounding at 8.0 rebounds per game.
Leonard's MVP case was built mostly on his play in the final three games of the series after he struggled in Games 1 and 2. Here's a comparison of his stats:
Games 1-2: 9.0 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 2.0 TOV, 1.0 STL, 0.0 BLK, 42.9 FG%, 66.7 3FG%, 50.0 FT%
Games 3-5: 23.7 PTS, 9.3 REB, 2.3 AST, 1.7 TOV, 2.0 STL, 2.0 BLK, 68.6 FG%, 53.8 3FG%, 84.2 FT%
In the first two games of the series, Leonard struggled with foul trouble and his aggressiveness on both sides of the ball suffered. This prompted a discussion with Coach Popovich, who pushed Leonard to be more aggressive and assert himself on both ends of the floor.
The response was remarkable. In the final three games, all Spurs wins by an average of 19 points, Leonard was the catalyst for the Spurs. He led the team in scoring (23.7) and rebounding (9.3) and shot an incredible 68.6% from the field. He increased his scoring by 14.7 points per game, his rebounding by 7.3 rebounds per game and his shooting percentage by 26.3%.
After scoring a total of 18 points in two games, Leonard went on to average nearly 24 points over the next three. Leonard scored over 20 points in each of the final three games of The Finals. Before that he had never put together three straight games with at least 20 points, in the regular season or playoffs. In fact, he only had back-to-back 20-point games once in 243 career games played (regular season and playoffs) before Game 3 tipped off last week. This season, in 66 regular season games played, he had a total of three 20-point games. Now, on the brightest stage and with highest stakes he scored at least 20 three times in three games.
The Heat scored the first eight points of Game 4 and their 8-0 lead just 2:19 into the first quarter had already eclipsed their previous largest lead in the entire series. The Heat would go on to build a 16-point lead in the first quarter, going up 22-6 with 5:04 left in the period. Of course, the Spurs had an answer and it was emphatic. San Antonio outscored Miami 41-18 over the final 17 minutes of the half.
After trailing by 16, the Spurs held a seven-point lead (47-40) at the half, continuing their trend of never trailing at the break. The Spurs held the halftime lead in four of the five games in the series. The only exception was a tie in Game 2, the only game the Spurs would go on to lose.
The Spurs leading by seven at halftime was a bit surprising considering San Antonio's starting backcourt of Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to score no points on 0-of-11 shooting from the field. While the offense was not up to San Antonio's usual standard, the Spurs clamped down on defense after the Heat's initial run in the first quarter to build the big lead. The Spurs held the Heat to just 11 points in the second quarter; it was Miami's lowest scoring quarter of the entire 2014 Playoffs.
The Heat built their early lead behind the outstanding play of LeBron James in the first-quarter. James had 17 points in the period on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from three and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also had six rebounds, two blocks and an assist in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Heat, James could not keep up that incredible play for the remainder of the game. James finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds (both game-highs), but after his remarkable first quarter James had just 14 points and four rebounds the rest of the game, while shooting 5-of-14 from the field.
The Heat combined to score just 29 points in the second and third quarters combined. Ten of those points came from James, nine from Chris Bosh, six from Dwyane Wade and four from Mario Chalmers.
The Spurs, on the other hand, scored 55 points over the two middle quarters of the game. They were led in scoring by two bench players -- Patty Mills (14) and Manu Ginobili (13) -- and also got a dozen from Leonard, 10 from Duncan and two points apiece from Boris Diaw, Tony Parker and Marco Belinelli.
As we discussed in our look at the Spurs prior to Game 5, the San Antonio bench outscored the Miami bench by 14 points per game (35.3-21.3) through the first four games of the series. The competition between the reserves was nowhere near that close in Game 5, as the Spurs bench dominated their Heat counterparts to the tune of 47-23. In fact, the Heat starters outscore the Spurs starters 63-57 in Game 5, but the depth of the Spurs came through once again.
Manu Ginobili had the highest plus/minus of any player in The Finals. Boris Diaw (+74) and Kawhi Leonard (+62) were also above plus-50 for San Antonio. In the championship-clinching Game 5, Ginobili was a plus-21, the highest of any player on Sunday.
Ginobili and Diaw are two of the nine players on the Spurs that were born outside of the United States. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs' nine foreign-born players are the most by an NBA champion.
Patty Mills came off the bench to score 17 points for the Spurs. He had 14 of those points during a five-minute burst in the third quarter, hitting a barrage of 3-pointers that helped bury the Heat.
Tony Parker was the Spurs' leading scorer in the series. He scored 16 points in Game 5, with all but two points coming in the fourth quarter. Parker started the game 0-of-10 from the field before scoring his first points on a pull-up jumper with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. He would go on to hit seven shots in a row before missing his final attempt to finish the game 7-of-18 from the field.
There was a 38-point swing in this game. The Heat led by 16 points (22-6) after a Ray Allen 3-pointer with 5:04 left in the first quarter.
The Spurs rallied back to take their first lead (37-35) nearly a quarter later, when Kawhi Leonard hit a 3-pointer with 4:47 left in the second quarter. The Spurs outscored the Heat 31-13 over that span of time.
The Spurs would never relinquish the lead, eventually building it to as much as 22 points (75-53) near the end of the third quarter, when Tim Duncan hit a turnaround jumper with 1:09 remaining in the quarter.
From the Heat's largest lead (16) to the Spurs' largest lead (22), the Spurs outscored the Heat 69-31 over the course of 27:55 of game time.
The Heat pulled within 14 points on a couple of occasions in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
For the first time this series, the team that held the edge in points in the paint did not go on to win the game. The Heat outscored the Spurs 34-32 in the paint on Sunday, but thanks to the Spurs' 12 3-pointers, they were able to overcome the narrow edge in scoring near the basket.
Spurs averaged 105.6 points per game in The Finals, the highest scoring average in an NBA Finals since the Lakers averaged an even 106 points per game in 2002.