Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates after being announced the NBA Finals MVP after game five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at AT&T Center. The Spurs beat the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals.
Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports
By Tim Reynolds AP
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Kawhi Leonard could have been devastated by losing last season's NBA Finals.
Instead, he vowed to get better.
Just think -- the San Antonio Spurs' youngest star is only getting started. He's a champion now, with the Spurs beating the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, finishing off a 4-1 triumph. And after watching the Heat celebrate last season, Leonard was the pick as MVP of the series, accepting his award from 11-time champion Bill Russell.
When Commissioner Adam Silver announced Leonard as the MVP, he was mobbed by his teammates and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich roared with laughter, knowing Leonard would have to do what he hates most -- talk about himself.
"Right now, it's just surreal to me," Leonard said. "I have a great group of guys behind me."
Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds, his third straight big game in the series. He fouled out in the fourth quarter, which was barely noticed after the job he did helping keep LeBron James in some sort of check over the final three quarters.
When it was over -- actually, a few seconds before it was over -- James led a group of Heat players down to the Spurs' bench for the first round of congratulatory hugs.