Jun 8, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
“How different is your mind from where it was a year ago?” Doris Burke asked Manu Ginobili at halftime of Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals.
If Ginobili’s mentality remained identical to himself, he played as if he warped reality and time.
Fewer than five minutes after entering Game 1, Ginobili had shot 3-of-3 on 3-pointers, made two steals and blocked a shot. He was playing with absolutely maniacal focus and intensity.
Ginobili finished with 16 points and 11 assists – posting the Finals’ first 15-point, 10-assist line off the bench since the NBA began tracking starters and reserves – and it should come as no surprise.
This is just what Ginobili does. He has more 15-point, 10-assist playoff games off the bench in the last 23 years than everyone else combined.
But carrying this type of production into Game 2 tonight will be paramount.
If the Spurs had a goat in their crushing seven-game defeat to Miami last year, it was Ginobili. With one or two exceptions, he really struggled and never sustained his fleeting success.
He averaged 7.5 points on 34 percent shooting in Games 1-4, had 24 points and 10 assists in Game 5, turned the ball over eight times in Game 6 and the four more times in Game 7.
Ginobili might be the cog that quietly swings this re-match toward San Antonio.
But with the same mindset, Ginobili is producing radically different results – and with them, the Spurs’ final result might be different, too.
- If traded before World Cup starts could Kevin Love still play for USA? Colangelo said it’s possible. 2
- Anthony Davis steps into spotlight, is Team USA’s lynchpin 17
- Referee Violet Palmer comes out publicly as gay 42
- Report: Cavaliers last team standing in Kevin Love trade talks 88
- Pat Riley says he didn’t think LeBron was leaving, Heat can turn around quickly 60
- Coach K on Rose: “Derrick’s played great, not good, and hasn’t held anything back” 30
- Report: Anthony Bennett pulled from pro-am by agent, possibly due to his inclusion in Kevin Love trade talks 43
- Report: Sixers fighting against immediate changes to NBA Draft Lottery system 59