By Ron Griffitts
In 2014, the San Antonio Spurs (62-20) coached by Gregg Popovich and with as their executive R. T. Buford met the Miami Heat (54-28) coached by Erik Spoelstra and with executive Pat Riley.
The Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks (4-3), the Portland Trail Blazers (4-1) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-2) in the western conference finals for the right to face the Heat in the finals. They were led by Tony Parker (16.7 ppg, 5.7 apg), Tim Duncan (15.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg), Kawhi Leonard (12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Marco Belinelli (11.4 ppg) and Tiago Splitter (6.2 rpg).
The Heat got past the Charlotte Bobcats (4-0), the Brooklyn Nets (4-1) and the Indiana Pacers (4-2) in the eastern conference finals to face San Antonio for the NBA title.
They were led by LeBron James (27.1 ppg, 6.3 apg, 6.9 rpg), Dwayne Wade (19.0 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg), Chris Bosh (16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Mario Chalmers (4.9 apg) and Chris Andersen (5.3 rpg).
Game one took place in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas with the Heat holding a 78-74 lead at the three quarter mark but the Spurs outscored Miami 36-19 in the fourth quarter for a 110-95 win.
Tim Duncan led the winners with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Manu Ginobili came off the bench to add 11 assists and score 16 points. LeBron James paced the Heat with 25 points.
In game two the Heat, behind 35 points and 10 rebounds from LeBron James, pulled out a 98-96 victory to tie the series at one game each. Tony Parker with 21 points and Tim Duncan with 18 and 15 rebounds and Boris Daw with 10 rebounds led the Spurs.
For game three, the teams moved to the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida and the Spurs used a strong 41-25 advantage in the first quarter to carry them to a 111-92 win to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 29 points while Dwayne Wade and LeBron James led the Heat with 22 points each.
Again in game four, San Antonio got off to a strong start and kept the pressure on for a 107-86 win to take a 3 games to 1 series lead.
Kawhi Leonard again led with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Tim Duncan added 10 rebounds for the winning Spurs while LeBron James led Miami with 28 points.
In game five, trying to avoid elimination, the Heat got out to a 29-22 start in the first quarter of play but the Spurs dominated 25-11 and 30-18 in the second and third quarters on their way to a 104-87 to win the game and the NBA title.
Kawhi Leonard continued his strong play with 22 points and 10 rebounds and was awarded the series MVP award. LeBron James led Miami with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
The Miami Heat returned to the NBA finals in 2020 while the San Antonio Spurs have not been back to the finals since 2014. Both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard returned as finals’ MVPs-James with Cleveland in 2016 and the Lakers in 2020, and Leonard in 2019 for the Toronto Raptors.
For LeBron James, that was his fourth consecutive final and he went on to be in the next four with the Cleveland Cavaliers, making his consecutive total eight and his total finals appearances ten.
Statistics for this article were from basketball-reference.com.