Kawhi Leonard named Finals MVP as Spurs claim fifth title
The 22-year-old small forward was quiet in Games 1 and 2, but he took over the rest of the way, keying three straight Spurs victories to clinch the Finals series in five games.
"Right now it's just surreal to me," Leonard said. " I had a great group of guys behind me, just pushing me, just wanting me to just be aggressive in the game ... "
Leonard, a 2011 first-round pick, was showered with "M-V-P" chants by the home crowd throughout Game 5.
After pouring in 29 points in Game 3 and 20 points in Game 4, Leonard was masterful again on Sunday, hitting a big momentum three-pointer with a little less than five minutes remaining in the second quarter to give San Antonio its first lead of the game. He would finish with a team-high 22 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in Game 5 on Sunday. Leonard, a 2014 All-Defensive Second Team selection, also played superb defense on four-time NBA MVP LeBron James throughout the series.
The Spurs, led by Duncan and coached by Gregg Popovich, previously won titles in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Duncan was named Finals MVP in 1999, 2003, and 2005, while Tony Parker took home the honors in 2007.
"They just told me I gotta keep being aggressive every night for us to win this series," Leonard said, referring to the Spurs' Big Three of Parker, Duncan and Ginobli. " They all pushed me, coach Pop pushed me, the fans pushed me and I just want to thank God and my parents and everybody.”
San Antonio's Finals victory exacts revenge for their 2013 Finals loss to Miami in seven games.
Leonard was greeted by Hall of Famer (and MVP award namesake) Bill Russell.
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