Jun 16, 2014, 9:12 AM EST
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.
Jan 25, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
Aldridge is attempting to play through a thumb tear.
Jan 25, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
In only 24 minutes.
Jan 25, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
Deng played his first game in Chicago as a member of a visiting team on Sunday.
Jan 25, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
Dragic can opt out this summer.
Jan 25, 2015, 2:44 PM EST
He would be back for training camp next season.
Jan 25, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
They need a Brandon Jennings replacement.
Knicks’ Lance Thomas travels, double dribbles and steps out of bounds without any call from the officials (VIDEO)
Jan 25, 2015, 12:30 PM EST
Two referees failed to blow the whistle, despite multiple violations occurring in the same sequence.
Jan 25, 2015, 11:00 AM EST
Both players successfully tricked the referees into calling a foul.
Jan 25, 2015, 9:30 AM EST
He’s just 23 behind Jason Terry for third most on the All-Time list.
Jan 25, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
He hd 26 points and 9 boards. That brace worked out pretty well.
Jan 25, 2015, 1:01 AM EST
Can we just get through the rest of this season without any more major NBA injuries, please?
Jan 24, 2015, 11:00 PM EST
Brad Stevens reportedly likes Prince, so a buyout may not be in the cards.
Derek Fisher didn’t realize motivating his players would be such a big part of being an NBA head coach
Jan 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
Fisher played 18 years, and claims that his motivation always came from within.
After being fined for obscene gesture, Dwyane Wade asks NBA to improve on ways it protects players from fans
Jan 24, 2015, 8:00 PM EST
Wade was fined for flipping off some fans who he believed crossed the line.
Jan 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
“He had his chance to reach out,” Waiters said.
Jan 24, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Howard left the game after just eight minutes and did not return.
Jan 24, 2015, 3:17 PM EST
Aldridge has a tear in his left thumb, and was originally set to be sidelined 6-8 weeks.
Jan 24, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Drama in Dallas?
Jan 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EST
The inside access here makes this a must-watch.
Jan 24, 2015, 11:00 AM EST
Before recent trades, players believed the team would go no further than the second round of the playoffs.
- Hassan Whiteside posts 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block triple-double in Heat win over Bulls (VIDEO) 13
- Brandon Jennings leaves game in wheelchair, may have torn Achilles 8
- LaMarcus Aldridge decides to delay surgery, will return for Blazers Saturday vs. Wizards 7
- WATCH: Kobe Bryant’s doctor explains diagnosis to him following exam of injured shoulder 10
- Report: Cavaliers players say they ‘had lost faith’ due to lack of depth and roster construction 46
- Kobe Bryant will be back next season, he can’t resist the challenge 20
- Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 point quarter (VIDEO) 36
- If injury is serious, it would go against history for Kobe to be productive again 17