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Game 5: Manu-facturing a Resurrection

June 17, 2013

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(Photos by Jerry Lara, Kin Man Hui, & Edward A. Ornelas of the San Antonio Express-News)

Throughout the course of his lengthy career, Manu Ginobili has always saved his best for when it counts the most: the postseason. Ginobili’s playoff heroics are the stuff of legend, even winning over such non-Spur fans as TNT’s Charles Barkley, whose favorite thing to do not involving placing a bet is to yell Manu’s surname in that unmistakable Alabama drawl.

But this year has been different. Other than draining a huge game-winning three-pointer in double overtime of Game 1 against Golden State in the Western Conference Semifinals, Ginobili had not only failed to deliver any other heroic moments since then, he’d actually been quite terrible throughout. His shots haven’t been falling, and he’s been a turnover machine who’s looked like someone who totally forgot everything he ever learned about ball handling.

So entering Game 5, with the series knotted 2-2 and one last chance to play at home before The Finals conclude in Miami, the Spurs were in desperate need of Ginobili’s vintage postseason magic. And in an effort to get that magic jumpstarted, Gregg Popovich decided to go all in and insert Ginobili into the starting lineup. It was a huge gamble bordering on desperation, but it paid off big time.

Ginobili was his old self, slashing and dashing his way to 24 points, 10 assists, and a team-leading +/- of +19. He was absolutely magnificent, and while he was certainly the main reason the Spurs beat the Heat 114-104, he was by no means the only reason.

Danny Green continued his white-hot long-range shooting, shooting 6-for-10 from downtown en route to 26 points on the night, while breaking The Finals record for most three-pointers made in a series – and doing so against the man whose record he broke: Ray Allen.

Tony Parker was also fantastic, riding his sore hamstring to a game-high 26 points on an incredible 10-of-14 from the field. He has continued to show amazing grit and determination since suffering that injury in Game 3.

But even though the Spurs are in an advantageous position leading The Finals 3-2 and needing just one more victory to claim the championship, that win is going to be extremely difficult to claim. Miami came storming back late last night from a 20-point deficit, showing just how dangerous they are at all times.

If the Spurs are unable to significantly reduce their propensity for turnovers (they committed 19 for the second straight game), they will not have much of a chance to win in Miami. Ginobili’s return to glory was great – and hopefully not short-lived – but regardless of which Manu we’ll see in Miami, the Spurs absolutely must protect the ball to claim the title.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2013 11:29 am

    Reblogged this on Trydashfecta and commented:
    Manu was magnificent last night. now King James has two shots to show what he’s all about.

    • June 17, 2013 11:33 am

      Game 6 (and 7, if there is one) should be epic!

      • June 18, 2013 2:52 pm

        Back in Miami where the Heat have been had before (Go Mavs!). Lebron playing to prove he is numero uno. Can I get a 3 OT game like in the NHL finals. That’s must see NBA.

        • June 18, 2013 2:54 pm

          I’m fine with 3 OT, so long as the Spurs end up winning, but would vastly prefer a nice 20-point SA regulation blowout of MIA.

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