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Manu Ginobili could swing Finals re-match toward Spurs this time

Jun 8, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Manu Ginobili Manu Ginobili

“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.

“Exactly the same,” said Ginobili shot back as if he strained all year to transform his pain into determination for this moment.

If Ginobili’s mentality remained identical to himself, he played as if he warped reality and time.

The same player who struggles through last year’s Finals? No longer a player who, as Danny Green put it, “could take over games in an instant”?

Ha!

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.

He wasn’t even the best San Antonio bench player in Game 1. He’s no longer explosive as he once was.

But with the same mindset, Ginobili is producing radically different results – and with them, the Spurs’ final result might be different, too.

  1. montrealknowledge - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Tiago is the X-Factor!! Once every Spur is guarded Tiago will kill the scrub on him.

  2. worldbfree4me - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Or he (Ginobili) could get soundly outplayed by a Healthy D-Wade and the HEATS 3 Peet will be in the history books.

    • spursareold - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      A “healthy D-Wade” is something that will never exist again. Degenerative knee conditions never improve, they only get worse. It’s a matter of pain management. He’ll be better earlier in games, not so much late. He’ll likely need to be drained at least once this series, because the Spurs will not allow Miami to rest him like the easier Eastern playoff teams.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        Wade has been great late in games in the playoffs this year, shooting 62.5% in the clutch. And Wade only played 33 min in Game 1, which is under his 2014 playoff average, so I don’t think that’s an issue.

        But what’s being lost in all this talk is that the Heat don’t even need Wade to play better to beat the Spurs. The improvement of LeBron and Bosh should cover him either way. That being said, I think he will be improved anyway.

      • kb2408 - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Anti has his own “unique” way of seeing things. In regards to Wade, I don’t know what you’re seeing.

      • kb2408 - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        62% in the clutch on how many shots? Not very many.

    • kb2408 - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      The whole D. Wade was injured crap is overblown. People act like he only gave Miami 9 points a game in the Finals last year, when in fact he averaged 19. At this stage of his career Wade is not going to give them 25 a game. 19 is probably as good as it’s going to get. He has a pattern these playoffs of coming out strong in the first two quarters then fizzling after halftime. He obviously can’t keep his intensity up for an entire game like he could a couple of seasons ago.

  3. ace3hundred - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Where was this great Dwayne Wade you refer to down the stretch of game1? With Lebron out and a close game it was his time to deliver for his team. The problem is they got just as much from Wade the last 4 minutes as the did from lebron. Actually at least Lebrons man wasnt raining triples and jamming dunks on a break away!!!

  4. jzone954 - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Manu is a complete beast. Nothing but respect for him, nothing but respect for the spurs and that coaching staff. Wade can still play at a high level, he just needs to stop with the fade away jumpers and just pull up and hit it. Miami has the players capable to help on d and score and it will show…..is Spo isn’t afraid to open up his bench. No matter how great Lebron is , he’s a man who needs his team to pull through at times as well as all great players do.

  5. the1nonlyk - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Giiiinnobbbillllllllllliiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Ginobili’s improvement isn’t enough. Remember… LeBron, Wade and Bosh all have dramatically improved as well, which will completely negate any improvement from Manu or any other Spur. And even though Manu is producing “radically different results” in 2014, the Spurs still lost three times as many games in the playoffs this year as compared to this point last year.

    • kb2408 - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      “All dramatically improved”?!! Dude, you’re delusional. How in the heck has Wade and Bosh dramatically improved? In what ways?! Their numbers don’t reflect it.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        Wade Playoff PER 2014: 20.6
        Wade Playoff PER 2013: 18.7
        Wade Playoff WS/48 2014: .136
        Wade Playoff WS/48 2013: .108
        Wade TS% 2014: .573
        Wade TS% 2013: .498

        Bosh Playoff PER 2014: 19.4
        Bosh Playoff PER 2013: 16.8
        Bosh Playoff WS/48 2014: .164
        Bosh Playoff WS/48 2013: .140
        Bosh TS% 2014: .598
        Bosh TS% 2013: .524

        They are both playing far better this year compared to last year.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        …. the TS% listed are also from the playoffs. Forgot to put that in there.

      • kb2408 - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        Wade looks like he did last Finals…hurt or not. I see an aging player. And Bosh might be a better shooter but otherwise he’s the same. You can produce all the stats in the world but what does your eyes tell you?

  7. cruelintentions662 - Jun 8, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    The series is just 1-0 people, please stop the madness. One game and y’all are swinging from Ginobili’s sacks, just wait and see how he does the entire series.

    • mikeymo74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:04 AM

      You were right. He cost them in Game 2 with some of his poor decision making down the stretch.

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