Jun 16, 2014, 9:12 AM EDT
Is this really how a great career ends?
The once-star guard looked like a shell of himself. He had one really good game in the NBA Finals, but overall, he shot inefficiently from his best areas, failed to protect the ball and defended poorly. Worst of all, at his age, there’s often no coming back from that type of slippage.
Manu Ginobili did it, though.
Can Dwyane Wade?
The shooting guards have taken turns with depressing Finals, Ginobili last year and Wade this year. But, somehow, Ginobili – at age 36 – shook off blowing a 3-2 series lead last season.
“Every team we lost, it was so painful, because we always felt that we had a shot,” Ginobili said. “Well, you all saw what happened last year. And that was especially painful.
“We had it. I think I touched it. I don’t know if I dreamed it, but I thought I had it. And it was a very tough summer.”
Right after the Spurs fell behind 22-6 in last night’s Game 5 clincher, Ginobili converted a three-point play. On the ensuing defensive possession, he got tangled with Shane Battier, who fell to the court. Battier appeared to grab Ginobili’s leg and bring him down, too.
Ginobili got up, holding his back and looking ticked.
On the other side of the court, Ginobili drilled a 3-pointer. He still looked just as ticked.
When is the last time Wade showed such intense focus?
Winning makes players content, and it takes deliberate concentration to counteract that already-present satisfaction. Ginobili and Wade have won a championship the year after every one of their Finals losses – the Spurs this year and the Heat in 2012 after falling to the Mavericks in 2011. These are both competitors who don’t give up.
But as crazy as it sounds – and hindsight certainly plays a part – Wade, four years younger than Ginobili, might face a more difficult road back to prominence.
The Heat guard’s knee could prevent him from playing at a star level consistently again – unless Miami takes drastic steps.
Wade rested throughout the year, playing his fewest minutes per game of his career (32.9) and sitting out many games completely. He played well throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs and appeared ready for the Finals.
But as much as he insists health played no factor, Wade appeared to lose a half step in these last five games.
Even a reduced regular season with four rounds in the postseason might be too much for him at this point. Wade played 1,775 minutes this season – still more than Ginobili any of the last three seasons.
Gregg Popovich takes resting his top players to an extreme, and it paid off in another title. What works for Ginobili won’t necessarily work for Wade, but at this point, it might be worth trying.
Can Wade become the next Ginobili?
Seems silly to ask that about a player a few years older than the Heat star, but coming off a crushing Finals loss, there’s no better role model for Wade.
Wade can develop his game. He can get even more patient with resting. He can return and play with more passion than ever.
He just must hope his knee will let him.
Apr 1, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT
Apr 1, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
Hollins believes what he believes, evidence to the contrary be damned.
Apr 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
He was the reason the Clippers were close to the Warriors.
Apr 1, 2015, 1:34 AM EDT
We may have to watch the Nets in the playoffs. Lord help us all.
Apr 1, 2015, 12:50 AM EDT
Curry just dropped the best defensive point guard in the NBA.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT
The deer is angrier
Mar 31, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Curry and Harden seem to be the frontrunners.
Mar 31, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
“Not what I envisioned coming into this season. But I’m here and ready to conquer this journey.” —Kevin Durant
Mar 31, 2015, 7:59 PM EDT
Which is easier to insult, the Lakers or Justin Bieber?
Mar 31, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT
Harrell a potential lottery pick, Rozier a potential first rounder
Mar 31, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT
It’s impossible to ever really define and entire large city in one bit of writing. But this story comes as close to defining the intricate relationship of San Antonio with the Spurs as you are going to see.
Mar 31, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT
Redick, who once looked like a bust given oversized expectations, playing big role for surging Clippers
Mar 31, 2015, 4:56 PM EDT
This was fun frustration
Mar 31, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT
Knicks fans should be patient with this season. Optimistic… that’s a tough sell.
Mar 31, 2015, 2:59 PM EDT
LeBron names his three, and says after that he has ‘a bunch of teammates.’
Mar 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
It had been hoped that Beverley might be available to return later in the postseason.
Mar 31, 2015, 1:20 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT
We already knew Durant was done for the season, but the Thunder have updated his status.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Green is trying to downplay rivalry with Clippers coach, and is dealing with inflammation in his shins.
Kyrie Irving on his relationship with LeBron James: ‘I don’t want to say it’s not been rocky at all’
Mar 31, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT
Things are clicking now in Cleveland, but it wasn’t that way at the beginning of the season.
- Anthony Davis says James Harden should be MVP 17
- Stop judging J.J. Redick by his Duke days if you haven’t already 5
- Thunder say Kevin Durant underwent successful bone graft surgery, will return in 4-6 months 4
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: DeMar DeRozan went Harden on Harden 12
- Derrick Rose returns to full-contact practice, Bulls return date still unknown 13
- Report: Sacramento consultant Chris Mullin to take St. John’s head coaching job 4
- PBT Extra: Taking twitter questions on Clippers, Michael Carter-Williams, more 7
- PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: Cream rising to top as playoffs near 28