SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the winningest trio in NBA postseason history, shared hugs.
Players wrapped themselves in flags from around world, a reminder that the San Antonio Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions, as confetti fell from above.
Painfully denied 12 months ago by the Miami Heat, this victory party was worth the wait.
“It makes last year OK,” Duncan said.
The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship Sunday night, ending the Heat’s two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games.
“We had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that’s why they’re the champions in 2014,” said LeBron James, who led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
San Antonio erased an early 16-point deficit and routed Miami for the fourth time in the series, denying the Heat’s quest for a third straight championship. A year after the Spurs suffered their only loss in six finals appearances — a heartbreaking seven-game defeat — they turned the rematch into no match at all.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves. I’m just glad we were able to do that,” Parker said.
Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who added this title to the ones they won in 1999, 2003, ‘05 and ‘07. They nearly had another last year but couldn’t hold off the Heat.
“I’ve said many times, a day didn’t go by where I didn’t think about Game 6,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the turning point in last year’s finals. “So I think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, I think speaks volumes about how they’re constituted and what kind of fiber they have.”