OAKLAND – With only the Spurs’ championship hopes riding on his return to form (so says Gregg Popovich with no hint of exaggeration), Manu Ginobili is admitting he may not be 100 percent when the playoffs begin.
“Physically, for sure. Basketball wise, who knows,” Ginobili said after the Spurs’ easy 120-99 victory over the Warriors that allowed Popovich to play Tim Duncan just 11 minutes and Tony Parker and Ginobili 15 each in the first step of the back-to-back-to-back.
“I may have a good game at the start and then, boom, it clicks. It may not. I don’t really care. I just want my team to win.”
Ginobili reports no lingering problems from the fractured finger that cost him 22 games in January or February or the strained abdominal muscle that resulted in another five missed games in February and March. The issue is that the lost time combined with the lack of practice time this season has allowed little time to find his rhythm.
“I am feeling good,” he said. “Conditioning wise, I am much better. It’s just scoring wise, I am not with my whole package. I don’t feel like I have my whole repertoire, I would say. (I am missing) mid-range shots, attacking the rim. It’s not a matter that I am weak or don’t have it. It’s just confidence. We can’t practice this season. It’s hard to get it back.”
The 12.6 ppg is on pace to be his lowest production since posting 7.6 ppg as a rookie in 2002-03.
“No Manu, no championships,” Popovich said in advance of the playoffs.