True roundball royalty, the San Antonio Spurs are once again
wearing the crown. LeBron James, Cleveland's preordained King,
isn't quite ready for his.
Finals MVP Tony Parker scored 24 points, Manu Ginobili had 27 -
13 in the fourth quarter and the Spurs, who bounced over from the
ABA in 1976, moved in among the NBA's greatest franchises with an
83-82 victory Thursday night for a sweep of the Cavaliers - court
jesters through much of their first finals.
With their fourth championship since 1999 and third in five
years, the Spurs joined the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and
Chicago Bulls as the only teams in NBA history to win four
And No. 5 might not be far away either with Parker, Ginobili and
Tim Duncan leading this Texas-oiled machine. Coach Gregg Popovich
and the Spurs, now a perfect 4-for-4 together in finals
appearances, spent most of the postseason dismissing talk that they
should be considered a dynasty.
But with titles in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, there's no more
reason to pretend they aren't one.
As the final seconds ticked off on Cleveland's finest season,
Duncan stood at center court with both arms raised triumphantly as
the rest of the Spurs danced around their center in a huddle. San
Antonio's star sought out Cleveland's Eric Snow, but was unable to
find James in the pandemonium.
Moments later, the Spurs put on champions baseball caps, which
has almost become a June ritual for them.
The final moments were hectic, though, as the Spurs needed every
last free throw to hold off the Cavaliers, who made a last stand at
home in a season of seasons for their once downtrodden
Cleveland went on an 11-0 run to open the fourth quarter, taking
its first lead in any second half of the series on James' drive
with 7:55 left. Cleveland went up 63-60 on Daniel Gibson's drive,
but that's when Duncan and Co. showed why they're champions.
Ginobili scored inside, was fouled and missed his free throw.
But Duncan muscled into the lane and tipped in the miss to make it
66-63. The Cavs tied it, but Ginobili, who didn't make a field goal
in Game 3, dropped a 3-pointer, and when James missed a 3, the
Spurs regained control by outworking Cleveland.
Duncan and Fabricio Oberto scrapped for offensive rebounds as
the Spurs kept the ball for nearly two minutes before Oberto's
three-point play made it 72-66 with 2:29 remaining. Duncan then
poked the ball away from James and Oberto scored underneath to give
San Antonio a 74-66 lead.
James, possibly a little tired following the early morning birth
of his second son, hit another 3-pointer but Ginobili responded
again with a tough runner in the lane to make it 76-69.
Damon Jones made three free throws and James made another
3-pointer, but Ginobili made four free throws in the final seven
seconds and immediately began celebrating a title that was all but
San Antonio's four-game sweep was the eighth since the finals
began in 1947.
Parker, who averaged 24.5 points on 57 percent shooting, became
the first European-born player to be honored as MVP. Until now, he
was mostly viewed as a pretty decent player with a prettier fiance,
TV actress Eva Longoria.
When Parker was handed his trophy, his soon-to-be-bride wiped
The 25-year-old, though, was an unstoppable, silver-and-black
blur against the Cavs, who had no one who could contain him and who
looked like they stumbled into their first finals by accident.
James had Cleveland fans believing the city's 43-year
championship drought was about to end. However, he had a rough
introduction to the league's climactic event, one he figures to
He shot just 10-of-30 in Game 4 and only 36 percent in the
series and never figured out how to rise above or get around the
Spurs, whose defensive schemes were designed to make the other
Cavaliers beat them.
James scored 24 points, and while he took the Cavaliers as far
as they've ever gone, he failed to give them new life in this
series on the same day his second son, Bryce Maximus James, was
Duncan, an MVP in his first three finals, had only 12 points but
grabbed 15 rebounds.
But the 31-year-old, whose arrival in 1997 in San Antonio is the
launching point for the Spurs' ascension, he got his fourth ring
and helped a few of the other Spurs - Michael Finley, Jacque Vaughn
and Brent Barry win their first.
Spurs forward Robert Horry got another one, too, his seventh -
the most by a non-Celtics player.
(China Daily via Reuters June 15, 2007)