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 27, 2015, 1:38 AM EDT
The question is can Dallas replicate all they did right on the road?
Apr 26, 2015, 11:02 PM EDT
The Boston Celtics fans got a show.
Apr 26, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT
Another stellar performance from John Wall buries Toronto’s season.
Apr 26, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
The Clippers needed their big stars to step up Sunday or they were going to be in a very deep hole. They got it.
Apr 26, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT
Blake Griffin grabbed 19 rebounds, and Austin Rivers (!) chipped in 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench.
Apr 26, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
With the new salary cap, Davis’ deal could approach $140 million.
Apr 26, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT
Kevin Love gets hurt, Cleveland gets revenge, and Boston gets swept
Apr 26, 2015, 4:58 PM EDT
Conley suffered the injury in Memphis’ Game 3 win in Portland.
Apr 26, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
It sounds like he’s taking a victory lap.
Apr 26, 2015, 2:55 PM EDT
Smith could face suspension.
Apr 26, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
He will not return Sunday.
Apr 26, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Apr 26, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
“He’s the guy they want,” the report says.
Apr 26, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Players were given the option by the team’s GM, but Aldridge — who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer — was the only one who chose to leave.
Apr 26, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
He was getting his buckets at the rim or on the right side of the floor.
Apr 26, 2015, 2:37 AM EDT
Memphis’ offense was the best it has looked this series.
Apr 26, 2015, 1:24 AM EDT
There is no update on the severity of his injury yet.
Apr 26, 2015, 12:07 AM EDT
Jared Dudley’s pass was fantastic.
Apr 25, 2015, 10:50 PM EDT
Golden State wins Game 4, 109-98
Apr 25, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
Milwaukee forced 26 Chicago turnovers, a season high.
- Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea pairing ignites Mavericks offense, gets Dallas Game 4 win over Houston 0
- Wizards blow out Raptors to complete first-round sweep 12
- Chris Paul scores 34 points, Clippers win Game 4 to even series with Spurs 6
- Cavaliers advance to second round – but but maybe lose Kevin Love and moral high ground in process 52
- Mike Conley out for Game 4 with “serious” facial injury, no timetable for return 6
- Grizzlies start fast, hang on to beat Portland, take 3-0 series lead 2
- Bucks outwork Bulls, stay alive on Jerryd Bayless game-winner 6
- Nets use 18-0 second-half run to secure Game 3 victory over Hawks 6