SAN ANTONIO -- Some things are even sweeter when you have to work harder for them.
The San Antonio Spurs were just seconds from winning the NBA title in Miami last season before a late three-pointer ripped it from their grasp.
On Sunday night, the Spurs claimed what they once had lost as they dismantled the Miami Heat for the third-straight game and claimed San Antonio's fifth NBA Championship with a resounding 104-87 victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The game started with nervous fans and a quick 16-point hole for the Silver & Black. But by the second quarter, the Spurs had come back to tie the game, and they kept going from there, never relinquishing the lead after that point.
They led by seven at halftime and by 19 at the end of the third quarter. The AT&T Center crowd roared its approval as each shot went in and as the Heat slowly melted away under the Spurs' pressure defense and up-tempo offensive attack.
The Miami Heat raced to an 8-0 lead to begin the game. At one point, Miami led 22-6 and seemed to be taking control of Game 5 early.
But the Spurs started to make their shots and were able to cut the lead to just seven points by the end of the first quarter.
That's where the margin remained through the first five minutes to the second quarter, but over the next four minutes, the Spurs went on a 14-0 run to rile up the AT&T Center crowd and take the lead for the first time.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 15 first-half points. Manu Ginobili had 14 off the bench, and Tim Duncan added eight more with veteran moves in the post.
LeBron James led the Heat in the first half with 20 points, and Dwayne Wade added eight more.
The Spurs extended the lead to 19 points by the end of the third quarter, raining three-pointers in and holding the Heat to just 18 points.
The fourth quarter was a coronation, as the Heat never got the lead back in single digits. The Spurs kept pouring on the offense, and the AT&T Center crowd chanted MVP for Kawhi Leonard, whose offensive charge and defensive prowess made a huge difference in the past three games.