83 - 82 Final
  for this game

Spurs sweep pesky Cavaliers for fourth NBA title

Jun 15, 2007 - 5:36 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- It was a fitting ending to the series for the relentless San Antonio Spurs, who made sure LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will have to wait at least one more year to claim the throne.

Tony Parker scored 24 points en route to winning MVP honors and Tim Duncan added 12 and 15 rebounds as the Spurs used a decisive fourth quarter for an 83-82 victory over the Cavaliers and their fourth NBA championship since 1999.

Manu Ginobili added 27 points for the Spurs, who completed their first sweep in the NBA Finals, eighth in league history and first since the Los Angeles Lakers had their way with the New Jersey Nets in 2002.

"You know, it was a tough close-out," Duncan said. "Guys like Mike (Finley) is what it's all about. To win a championship, to see how much he appreciates its, to see Jacque Vaughn and even Robert Horry, to see the looks on their face and the understanding of how special and how tough it is to get here. It makes it all worth it."

"I'm definitely going to remember 2007," Parker said. "It's a great year. I don't know what I did, but it's been a great year."

It now can be argued that San Antonio is a legitimate dynasty, joining the Boston Celtics (16), Lakers (14) and Chicago Bulls (six) as the only teams in league history to win at least four championships.

"They are all different. Each championship has a personality of its own," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's got a few different people involved in it. Obviously, watching Tim Duncan be a common thread through it all is especially satisfying and amazing to me that he's able to do what he does with that group."

The Spurs withstood a frantic run by Cleveland in the final period, but then turned on the jets and sprinted to the finish line. Trailing, 60-52, heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers scored the first 11 points of the period to take a 63-60 lead.

San Antonio then went on a 14-3 run, capped by Fabricio Oberto's layup with two minutes left to make it 74-66. Time would become a factor as the Cavaliers poured in some points in the waning seconds but it would be too little, too late.

"It made it sweeter for them to make a run, for us to answer, for us to keep our composure and to find a way to win, no matter what," Duncan said. "(The Cavaliers) played great in that fourth quarter. They outscored us in the fourth quarter as they did most of the series.

"We made plays, we just found a way to get it done."

It was more heavy lifting for James, who continued to get swarmed by an overloaded San Antonio defense. James, who had 24 points and 10 assists on 10-of-30 shooting, also became a father for the second time early Thursday morning.

"(My performance) definitely could have been better," James said. "It could have been better in order for us to win. You know, if I don't play well, our team is not going to have a chance to win. I've got a lot of things to work on to get better for next year."

It also was Cleveland's first four-game skid of the campaign.

"I'm just excited for what happened for our team this year," James said. "You know, we gave it all. We did what we said, made it to the championship, try to win the championship."

But despite the elation in the "Alamo City," the Finals have been lacking significant juice - thanks in part to a surgically precise San Antonio squad. It also has been a forgettable week for the NBA, which has seen some of its worst ratings for the Finals in league history.

Sunday's Game Two went up against the finale of HBO's popular mob drama "The Sopranos," and with James - one of the faces of the NBA - in his first championship series, the league was hoping for more.

But San Antonio made sure to stop the hype quickly.

"It starts with Pop," Parker said. "The fact that he never let us get comfortable. He's always behind us, like, 'Come on, come on, focus, focus.' I think it carries on. Every day in practice we just get that mentality."

After two demoralizing defeats in Games One and Two, the Cavaliers returned home for their first NBA Finals home game in franchise history. With a rabid fan base spurring it on, Cleveland finally played a competitive game - even if it was an ugly contest - but dropped a rugged 75-72 decision on Tuesday.

James had a chance to tie the game on its controversial final play. The young superstar hoisted a potential game-tying 3-pointer that skimmed off the front rim as he was being grabbed by San Antonio guard Bruce Bowen.

After the contest, James refused to blame the loss on the non-call, saying it was "incidental contact" and not the only reason for the defeat.

It was more of the same in another close defeat on Thursday.

"You're definitely disappointed," James said. "I'm not disappointed in our effort the last two games, not at all. I think we played well. We definitely just faced a better team in this series, simple as that."

During Wednesday's media session, the All-Star swingman implored his team to "still believe," echoing the words of coach Mike Brown, who acknowledged that no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit, but said there is a first time for everything.

But it did not work out that way, and Brown admitted that it was just too much from the Spurs.

"You've got to give San Antonio credit," he said. "It's a (heck) of a team. They did everything they needed to do in order to win basketball games, (Thursday) and the three games before."

Cleveland showed some fortitude in the opening period, taking a 20-19 lead into the second quarter, despite 10 points from Spurs speedster Parker. The Cavaliers were led by James, who scored six points in the period, two on an emphatic slam to make it 20-19 - only his second dunk of the series.

San Antonio pressed on in the second quarter, coming to life and outscoring Cleveland, 20-14, in the period to take a 39-34 lead at halftime. However, the Spurs made headway without an effective Duncan, who scored just two points in the first half, shooting 0-of-5 from the field and 2-of-6 from the free-throw line.

Duncan got going in the third for San Antonio, which outscored Cleveland, 21-18, in the period, precluding an exciting fourth quarter.