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spurs championship parade details

San Antonians are invited downtown this Wednesday, June 18 to help the San Antonio Spurs and the City of San Antonio celebrate a fifth NBA Championship.

A river parade community celebration begins at 6 p.m. on the River Walk. Following the river parade, the celebration will move to the Alamodome for a special ceremony beginning at 9 p.m.

“The City is proud of our Spurs,” said Mayor Julián Castro. “This fifth championship cements the Spurs’ legacy as one of the greatest sports franchises in history.”

The river parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the Arneson River Theater, travel through the River Center extension past the Convention Center and Rivercenter Mall and end at the Navarro Street Bridge. Barges will carry Spurs players and coaches, Spurs officials, former Spurs players, City and Bexar County officials, live musical entertainers and others down the San Antonio River.

- Fans will not be allowed to claim a spot on the River Walk to view the parade until 4 p.m. the day of the parade.
- Only those individuals with credentials will be allowed to view the parade from Arneson River Theater.
- Due to security precautions, no ice chests, alcoholic beverages, glass containers, chairs, shopping bags, packages, Silly String or similar items will be allowed on the River Walk.

Photo of 2014 San Antonio Spurs NBA championship gear. The Spurs just won the title in five games, beating the Heat tonight.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on Spurs great Tim Duncan:

Tim Duncan keeps racking up NBA accomplishments

After the Spurs’ 107-86 Game 4 win over the Heat gave San Antonio a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, Tim Duncan was more interested in looking forward than reflecting on his own personal accomplishments, even if those accomplishments linked him to two of the game’s greats — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.

Duncan passed them in two different statistical categories during the Spurs’ victory on Thursday. He played 31 minutes to total 8,869 career playoff minutes and edge Abdul-Jabbar’s total of 8,851 for first place on the NBA career list. Duncan’s 10 points and 11 rebounds gave him his 158th career playoff double-double, moving him ahead of Johnson (157) for the all-time NBA playoff lead.

Duncan is already the all-time playoff leader in blocked shots and is fourth all-time in games played, but for him, all of those individual numbers pale in comparison to what can come Sunday if the Spurs close out the Heat to bring home their fifth championship.

If that happens, it will be Duncan’s fifth title as well, putting him in even more elite company. Only 13 players in NBA history have won more championships than that while 12 players have won five titles.

Tuesday in Miami, the San Antonio Spurs went wild early on, scoring 41 points in the first quarter against the Heat. Enjoy these Spurs video highlights:

The Spurs beat the Heat 111-92 Tuesday in Miami to take a 2-1 lead in the 2014 NBA Finals. San Antonio got off to an incredible start, and were able to keep the Heat at bay to secure the victory. Here’s the New York Daily News:

After starting the game by making 19 of their first 21 shots, the Spurs finished the half shooting 25-of-33 (76%), setting a Finals first-half record. Their 41 points in the first quarter were the most in a Finals game since 1967, while their 13-of-15 shooting in the first quarter (87%) also set a Finals record.

The Heat did cut the lead to seven points in the third period and was down only 10 with 8:54 to go in the game. But the Spurs, who are still smarting from their epic Game 6 collapse last June, didn’t come close to buckling this time.

Remember how Gregg Popovich complained after Game 2 on Sunday that the ball stuck to his team’s hands way too much in the critical fourth quarter, when it scored only six points in the final 4:40? For the first 19 minutes of this game, once the ball left the Spurs’ shooters hands, the only thing it stuck to was the nylon nets.

“I don’t think we’ll ever shoot 76% . . . ever . . . in a half . . . again,” Popovich said, looking amazed.

If you watched the Spurs score only 18 points in the fourth quarter of Game 2, you wouldn’t have thought that it was the same team. At the height of their blitz, they led 55-30.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on NBA Finals Game 3:

Quiet Kawhi Leonard lets Game 3 play speak for itself

On the night he put together the best playoff performance of his career, Kawhi Leonard opted to pass up the spotlight and the post-game press conference that typically comes on a night like his.

Instead, the soft-spoken Spurs forward stood in San Antonio’s locker room, still in his uniform, and answered questions from a media contingent the likes of which he hasn’t seen all NBA Finals.

“I was just in attack mode trying to be aggressive early and knocking down a couple shots got me going and my teammates found me,” he said simply when describing his career high 29 point-performance that helped the Spurs take a 2-1 series lead with their 111-92 win over the Miami Heat in Tuesday’s Game 3. “We were just running the same offense. I was able to play tonight. I didn’t get in foul trouble early, I got in a rhythm and my teammates got me involved.”

Things didn’t exactly go so well for Leonard through the first two games of the NBA Finals.

The third-year player had a combined 18 points and four rebounds in the first two games of the series and fouled out for the first time in 243 NBA games on Sunday during Miami’s Game 2 win.

Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting on the Spurs-Heat NBA Finals. Game 3 is tonight in Miami:

The Spurs are back for Game 3 of the Finals on Tuesday, intent on forgetting as much as they can about the last time they were here on this stage.

“For me personally, I’m definitely not going to think about that the next two games,” San Antonio guard Tony Parker said after the Spurs fell, 98-96, in Game 2 on Sunday night. “I’m going to focus on what I can do to help the team win. Going to be big games coming up.”

The Heat and Spurs are in a similar spot to where they were last year, the series tied after two games. The difference is that the next two games will be in Miami as part of the new 2-2-1-1-1 series format instead of in San Antonio for three games as part of the old 2-3-2 alignment that ended last year.

It seemed pretty clear what fixes the Spurs needed to make after another unhappy ending doomed them in Game 2. They led by a point after Parker made a three-pointer with 2:26 remaining before their final four possessions went like this: missed Manu Ginobili three-pointer, Ginobili turnover, Ginobili missed jumper and meaningless Ginobili three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left.

San Antonio’s demise was not solely a one-man operation, though.

The Spurs missed eight of 20 free throws in the game, including four in a row in the fourth quarter.

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on the Spurs vs Heat 2014 NBA Finals, which are currently tied at 1-1.

Spurs say improvement must come from offense

Even after a Game 2 in which LeBron James scored 35 points and the Heat shot 52.9 percent from the field, it was notable that the Spurs pointed to the offensive end as the area of their shortcomings on Sunday.

Guard Danny Green said the Spurs can live with the shots they gave James: “They were contested jumpers. You’re not going to block his jump shot. We didn’t expect him to shoot that well, but he got hot.”

Tim Duncan said he “thought we were pretty decent” defensively.

What wasn’t acceptable, coach Gregg Popovich said, was the lack of ball movement. “The ball stuck,” he said. “We didn’t do it as a group. We tried to do it individually, and we’re not good enough to do that. You move it or you die.”

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on the Heat-Spurs NBA Finals:

Manu Ginobili leads Spurs bench brigade in losing cause

The San Antonio Spurs sported the highest-scoring bench in the NBA during the regular season.

Spurs reserves lived up to that billing Sunday night, but it wasn’t enough to save them as LeBron James and the Heat evened their best-of-7 NBA Finals with a 98-96 victory in Game 2 at AT&T Center.

The Spurs’ bench outscored the Heat’s reserves 37-12. On most nights, that would have been enough to guarantee a victory.

But this wasn’t most nights.

James, bouncing back from his Game 1 disappointment — when he was forced to sit out the final four minutes with leg cramps after an air-conditioning failure — erupted for 35 points and 10 rebounds.

Sunday in San Antonio, the Miami Heat came to town, enjoyed proper arena air conditioning, and edged the Spurs 98-96 to tie the 2014 NBA Finals 1-1. LeBron James shot 14-of-22 in the win for 35 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Enjoy these LeBron video highlights:

I know you’re all sitting out there thinking about how cool Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau are. It’s a pretty standard topic to sit pondering about. But which of the two is cooler? Here is the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on Spurs guard Marco Belinelli as he discusses Popovich (his current coach) and Bulls coach Thibodeau (his former coach):

Marco Belinelli says Popovich is cooler than Thibodeau

Both are driven, defensive-oriented winners. All that appears to separate the two are Popovich’s four championships, and he’s three games away from a fifth after the Spurs beat the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

But Spurs reserve Marco Belinelli, who played under Thibodeau with the Bulls last season, offered up a different perspective. Apparently, their jewelry collection isn’t all that sets them apart.

Popovich might be the more likely of the two to grab a beer and shoot the breeze.

“They are different a little bit,” Belinelli said. “Thibodeau is a great coach, but maybe Pop is more like a cool guy. He wants to speak with you, have a conversation, speak about everything, not just basketball.”

Not that chitchatting with your players leads to victories.

Belinelli found a comfort zone in Popovich’s system and has improved his offensive efficiency from a season ago.

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Heat NBA Finals Game 1. Played in San Antonio Thursday night, the Spurs won, 110-95

Some top 2014 NBA Finals storylines

RETURN TRIP: A Finals rematch is a rare treat. This will be the first time since 1997 and 1998 two teams will square off in consecutive years. Further adding to the anticipation, it’s the first time in 25 years that two teams played a seven-game Finals and repeated as conference champions the following season.

SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE: Six Finals appearances in 16 seasons and 15 consecutive 50+ win seasons have established the Spurs as the NBA’s model for long-term success. Is this the team’s last run for a championship? When you’re the Spurs, the answer to that question can never be yes.

COACHING UP: Only four coaches in the history of the NBA (Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and John Kundla) have won five or more titles. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hopes to join this elite club in 2014. On the other sideline, Erik Spoelstra is aiming to become only the fourth coach (Auerbach, Kundla and Jackson) in NBA history to win three straight Finals.

DOING IT WITH DEPTH: The Spurs’ depth has been one of the largest reasons for their return to The Finals. San Antonio is the first team since the NBA/ABA merger (1976) to not have a single player average 30 minutes. The Spurs had nine players average at least 8.0 points this season — the first team to hold that distinction and make The Finals since the 1965-66 Celtics. San Antonio’s reserves finished the regular season with the highest scoring average in Spurs franchise history and in this season’s playoffs, the reserves have accounted for a league-high 42.2 points per game.

DIFFERENT PATH, SIMILAR RESULTS: The Spurs and Heat were built in different ways, with different types of players. After Tim Duncan, who was the top pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the next highest Spurs draft pick is Kawhi Leonard (15th overall pick). Their roster boasts five second-rounders and one undrafted player. The Heat, on the other hand, features six top 10 picks on its star-studded roster.

– NBA News

No retirement plans for Tim Duncan yet

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reporting on veteran Spurs star Tim Duncan, whose squad faces the Heat Thursday in NBA Finals Game 1:

No retirement plans for Tim Duncan yet

At 38, Spurs legend Tim Duncan knows the end of his NBA career is near. But with his fifth championship in his sights, Duncan said at Wednesday’s media availability that he has yet to seriously contemplate retirement.

“I’ve not come to that point yet,” Duncan said. “I don’t know when I’m going to retire. I don’t know what the factors are going to be. I don’t know any of that and I don’t care about any of that stuff right now. I’m not thinking about that. It will happen when it happens. I’ll feel it and I’ll now it and I’ll call it a day.”

Duncan has a player option to return for what would be his 18th NBA season. Former NBA coach George Karl had speculated earlier this year, basing his information on unnamed sources, that Duncan will retire. But Duncan and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich roundly dismissed that notion as the future Hall of Famer continued to put up quality numbers, averaging 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Starting Thursday, the Spurs get a rematch in the NBA Finals against the only team to ever beat them in a championship series. San Antonio will be holding home-court advantage, so if another Game 7 awaits, the Spurs will have the decided edge this time around. If that wasn’t enough, the Spurs even got basically five full days between games to get healthy and prepare.

It is, without question, everything the Spurs could have wanted.

“We know what we’re going against,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, who added that he has great respect for what the Heat have done in this four-year run. “It’s a great challenge.”

There are so many things that would seem like a distinct San Antonio advantage right now.

First, while everyone’s better at home, the Spurs dominate in San Antonio, winning 103 times in their last 123 games there. Over the past four seasons, the Spurs are also 25-5 when having three or more days between games.

– Associated Press

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on veteran Spurs star Tim Duncan, who sure seems ready for an NBA Finals rematch with the Heat:

The normally bland Duncan offered some surprising thoughts on facing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. The best-of-7 series opens Thursday in San Antonio.

“We’re back here now and we want to get it done this time,” Duncan said.

The Spurs advanced after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. Last year they lost in seven games to the Heat despite holding a 3-2 lead in the series. The Heat won the last two at AmericanAirlines Arena, but this time the Spurs hold homecourt advantage.

“We were ready last year, too,” Duncan said. “People keep talking about it like we weren’t close to winning it. We were ready last year, and we just couldn’t get over that hump. We’re happy to be back here this year, we’re happy to have another opportunity at it.”

Duncan said the Spurs still have a “bad taste” in their mouths after last year. This season began with coach Gregg Popovich addressing the team about how close they were.

Spurs beat Thunder in OT, advance to NBA Finals

San Antonio fought off Father Time, the league MVP and an injury to its best player to return to the NBA Finals.

The Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to set up a rematch with the Miami Heat.

San Antonio will host Game 1 on Thursday night and will try to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss. San Antonio led Miami 3-2 before losing Game 6 in overtime, then dropping Game 7…

San Antonio pulled this one out despite All-Star point guard Tony Parker missing the entire second half and overtime with left ankle soreness. Popovich said Parker had been struggling with the ankle since Game 4 of the series. The Spurs overcame it the way they have for more than a decade — with teamwork, passing and great performances by role players…

Russell Westbrook had 34 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals, and MVP Kevin Durant added 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. But Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Spurs. Westbrook and Durant each had seven turnovers.

– Associated Press

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Thunder Western Conference Finals Game 6. The Spurs won 112-107 in overtime to advance to the 2014 NBA Finals, where they will face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year’s matchup.

The Spurs won Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals series against the Thunder, 117-89 Thursday. Here are video highlights of some of the game’s best plays:

Thursday in San Antonio the Spurs pounded the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-89 to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference Finals series. In the win, Tim Duncan shot 8-of-13 for 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili nailed 7 of 9 shots for 19 points and six assists. Enjoy these Duncan and Ginobili-centered video highlights:

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