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.
May 27, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT
May 27, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT
Free agents will still come to the Lakers, but their pool may be smaller than some other teams because of Kobe.
May 27, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
There were plenty of rumors to the contrary.
May 27, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT
Suns don’t need any more young players.
May 27, 2015, 1:10 PM EDT
Plenty has changed since LeBron re-joined the Cavaliers last summer.
May 27, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Hawks, too, have some decisions to make this summer.
May 27, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT
The offers won’t be as strong as they were in December.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: ‘Anywhere from 4-8 players could be in consideration’ for No. 2 pick in NBA Draft
May 27, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
Eight seems like too many, but Kupchak has proven that he knows what he’s doing.
May 27, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
Finals begin June 4; complete schedule enclosed.
May 27, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT
A nice moment for the Cavaliers.
May 27, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT
LeBron strikes the iconic Dunkman pose.
May 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
They’re still tight.
May 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Curry and this Warriors team are not going to crumble like the Clippers did.
May 27, 2015, 2:02 AM EDT
J.R. Smith on the national stage of the Finals is going to be so much fun.
May 27, 2015, 1:25 AM EDT
The Hawks have an excellent foundation to build on.
May 26, 2015, 11:07 PM EDT
This one was over early.
May 26, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT
Injury issues continue to pile up as Atlanta is on the verge of elimination.
Storms in Houston forced Dwight Howard to remain at arena with fans until 2:30AM after Game 4 win over Warriors
May 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
Severe flooding in the area had fans — and at least one player — stranded.
May 26, 2015, 8:09 PM EDT
May 26, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
Inconsistent ruling, but a good one for the Rockets.
- Bucks’ Jared Dudley: “Most guys don’t want to play with Kobe” 18
- PBT Extra: Expect a healthy Stephen Curry for Game 5… sorry Houston 2
- Hawks’ excellent season shouldn’t be discredited because of playoff exit 24
- Cavaliers complete sweep of Hawks, advance to NBA Finals 82
- Kyrie Irving back in Cavaliers lineup for Game 4 vs. Hawks 5
- NBA: No Game 5 suspension for Dwight Howard, flagrant-1 for hit on Andrew Bogut stands as called 23
- Report: Kyle Korver to have surgery on his ankle 5
- PBT Podcast: We’re back (finally), talking Curry, Harden, and what should be a Flagrant Foul 0