SAN ANTONIO – For three quarters, it probably wasn't the NBA Finals game Tony Parker had imagined.
Although the Spurs were well on their way to a 104-87 NBA title-clinching victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night in Game 5, Parker struggled to find his offense.
At the start of the fourth quarter the Spurs led 77-58, but Parker was just 1-of-11 from the floor with one assist.
But as he has done so many times in his 13-year career, Parker rose to the occasion as the Heat kinda, sorta showed some life and cut the lead to 79-65 with 9:57 remaining. From that point on, Parker scored 14 points to take away any Heat momentum and help guide the Spurs to their fifth championship.
"It was just a weird game for me," Parker said. "But I stuck with it, and the team was playing well, and so I was just trying to find my rhythm while the team was playing good.
"Finally, in the fourth quarter, a breakthrough for me. I made a couple shots and contributed to help the team win."
Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili carried the load in the first half, combing for 29 points, but they totaled just 12 points the rest of the way. With Parker finding his groove late, it personified the Spurs way: different players taking their turns for a common goal.
"We're a true team, and everybody contributes," Parker said. "Everybody did their job defensively, offensively. We did it together, and that was the whole key this season."
With his finishing kick, Parker ensured Leonard, 22, would become the youngest Finals MVP since Tim Duncan, who was also 22 when he earned the honor in 1999.
Parker also earned his fourth NBA title since becoming a Spur in 2001.
But perhaps most importantly, he helped solidify the legacy of franchise that has now won titles in the three different decades.
"It's been a long time, but it makes it even sweeter," Parker said. "That's why I say it's the sweetest one, because it's just unbelievable to win seven years ago and be so close last year, it was very cruel, but that's the beauty of sport. Sometimes it can be tough. And sometines it can be beautiful like today."
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- Tony Parker
- Miami Heat