Spurs Need Ginobili To Have A Shot

Shortly before the Spurs would put the finishing touches on their back-to-back playoff sweeps by closing out the Clippers, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked if he could relax and appreciate the fact that his club had a win streak that is more than a month old and still growing.

“I’m a coach,” Popovich said. “So that means you can always find something wrong even in the best games. Plays don’t get made, assignments get missed. That’s why we have video. There’s always something to worry about.”

If there’s an area of concern on a team working on an 8-0 playoff record and 18 in a row heading into the Western Conference finals on Sunday, it might be the shooting of Manu Ginobili. Or more accurately, his non-shooting.

Through the first two rounds, Ginobili has struggled mightily with his shot, connecting at just 40 percent from the field and only 25.7 (9 of 35) from behind the 3-point line. After making just 3 of 14 from long range against Utah, he hit only 6 of 21 in the win over L.A.

“I wasn’t worried against Utah, because I didn’t take many (shots),” Ginobili said. “Against the Clippers, I took a few open, and they didn’t go in.”

Despite his off-target shooting, Ginobili is averaging 12.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in the playoffs, meaning he’s still been able to affect play on both ends of the floor and make a positive contribution.

But it is quite likely that the Spurs will need more offense and better shooting against Oklahoma City and his likely matchup, James Harden, this season’s Sixth Man Award winner. Harden is averaging 19.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists off the bench while playing virtually the same role as Ginobili for the Spurs.

They are comparable players: both are left-handed with a frantic, unpredictable style that produces big plays and is difficult to defend. Both can make the difference late in games.

“There are some similarities,” Ginobili said. “We are both lefties. We play a very similar role. We both come from the bench. Shooting guards that handle the ball a lot, play a lot of high pick and rolls on the right side and we prefer going left. There are some similarities, of course, it’s hard not to see it. It’s gonna be fun to play against him.”

Another similarity between the Spurs and Thunder is that Ginobili, as a rookie, and Tony Parker, in his second NBA season, played significant roles in the Spurs’ title runs in 2003 and again in 2005. Now the 22-year-old old Harden and a pair of 23-year-olds in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the key players in OKC.

“I know that what happened to me or Tony isn’t something that happens often,” Ginobili said. “That you get here, boom, and you win two out of three or four (years). When I won the first one, I really didn’t realize what was going on. I didn’t know how difficult or hard it was to make it. And then in ‘05 and ‘07, it was different. I even enjoyed it more. But it is what it is. There’s only one team that will make it.

“They are young. Durant and Westbrook are 23. I was 25 in my rookie season. So it happened early, but I was older. So it’s just different stories, different things. Some players are never going to win one. They are in a great situation and have played in two conference finals in a row. It’s not something easy to do. So we’ve got to give those guys credit. You aren’t a winner just because you win a championship. I don’t believe that.”

What the Spurs have to believe — or at least keep telling themselves — is that Ginobili’s shot will come around and be there when they need it.

“This is a whole new story, a new series, and we don’t care about what happened against Utah or the Clippers,” Ginobili said. “Hopefully, I start off on the right foot.”

75 Comments

  1. John From OKC says:

    When is Serge Ibaka going to start getting the credit he deserves from people outside Oklahoma?

    No knock intended on Harden, who is indeed very similar to Ginobili, but “IBLOCKa” should be getting more ink from the national media. You better believe the Spurs’ advance scouts are paying a LOT of attention to him.

    BTW, Harden also has some similarities to the Celtics’ Paul Pierce, especially in terms of recognizing what’s needed in particular situations.

    GO THUNDER!

  2. Jim Diaz says:

    The Spurs is sentimental favorite, although the young ones will root for OKC because of KD and this is good for NBA . Bottom line, any of the two who win will be steam-rolled by the magnificent Duo LBJ and DW… Its now the era of the Heats and most beneficial to NBA as a whole…Hooray from the basketball loving Filipinos.

  3. Hctub says:

    Spurs cant keep up w the run & grind…tm is too old.

  4. SpursFanSince1977 says:

    This will be a tough series! I want the Spurs to win, but I remain a fan and have been following them since 1979. I hate that so many jumped on the band wagon after David and Tim’s era. I’ve had season tickets since 1977, and I recall many ‘empty arena’ nights. I love my Spurs!

  5. Francisco says:

    OKC is going to lose, They beat the MAVS who were a shadow of the champions and the Lakers was one of the 3 weakest team out of 16.

    • Spurs got it all from the smartest offense and the extreme defense combined with the best coach and manu’s deadly moves.
      KD and his crew will run in fear and that’s for sure.

  6. OMG Deja Vu says:

    Spurs fans are too overconfident! I think OKC is gonna take it! They won every close game against the Mavs and Lakers! They were pulling games out of the hat that they should not have won! That’s what championship teams do! The Clippers team the Spurs swept was full of injuries! Their marquee player CP3 with 2 injuries! It will be a good series but I’m taking OKC!

    • dattebayo says:

      I am having a deja vu already:

      The Thunder meet a veteran team with more depth and experience in the Western Conference Finals and they do not have homecourt. I know how this series will end because i have already seen it last year. Spurs in 5…

  7. Mr. Wise says:

    When the last stroke of the hammer falls what will be left standing will be a Spurs team that cannot be defeated. The Spurs have yet to play their best basketball and when the last shard of stone drops to the floor so will any opponent that that stands in their way, So when the Spurs take the floor sunday , the Okc thunder should hope the sculpture isnt finished other wise it;s Spurs in 4 and Gregg Popovich sweeping another Championship under his belt .

  8. Heya says:

    8 more WINs San Antonio and its all over

  9. ko0kie says:

    you gotta love manu ginobli… great player, very sympathetic

  10. drago says:

    For me OKC is the next NBA dynasty it may not happen this year but it’s coming.

  11. Heart of champions says:

    Rock and Roll Spurs nation. Our time has come.. Drive for 5 baby!!..

  12. Heart of champions says:

    GO SPURS GO!!!.. What I like about spurs is that they play like a family.. and a family that plays together wins together! Spurs a championship caliber team and they deserve to be in the finals and this where they belong.

  13. me says:

    Yeah, go spurs, go! i like the video.

  14. Andrew Prysock says:

  15. NB A-Team says:

    CONFETTI. Believe it or not, this all comes down to confetti.

    OKC let the confetti fall already. NEVER let the confetti fall unless they are rolling out the Larry O’Brian Trophy. Granted, as “Z” and others so eloquently pointed out, the Thunder have been through some major highs and lows, but they still don’t seem ready to make that Finals push.

    You can always gauge a team by how early they drop the confetti. If they drop the confetti for the first win of the playoffs, they obviously have not won in the playoffs in a long time. If they drop the confetti after the first series, they obviously have not gotten out of the first series in a long time. If they drop the confetti after Round 2 and the citizens gather in the streets to party like it’s all won and done, as OKC did a few days ago, you’re messing with the mentality of a young team.

    OKC can try their hardest to say mentally “We haven’t won anything yet.”….but that’s hard to say with a straight face after the fiesta-fiasco that OKC threw after the end of Round 2.

    To the Spurs, advancing to the Conference Finals is like turning a door knob, they just turn the knob and walk in. For OKC, advancing to the Conference Finals is like hearing your best friend is going to get married, which calls for parties and family gatherings to discuss their dreamy future.

    It’s alllll about the CONFETTI. Drop your confetti on the Larry O’Brian Trophy. Drop it when it counts.

  16. TEG says:

    I see the Spurs winning this in 6, maybe even could win in 5. While others say that Spurs had it easy because they only faced Jazz and Clippers, Thunder didn’t necessarily have it hard either with a Mavs team that clearly wasn’t the team that won it all last year, and a Lakers team that really had a weak bench (and may I add, some anger problems aka Artest, Bynum, and Ebanks). I think Ginobili can get his shots going again (which Thunder hasn’t even seen at all in the regular season), and I think Kawhi Leonard can defend well against KD. The 3 pointers will be a factor considering one point I heard about if Matt Bonner goes up against Serge Ibaka. Bonner likes taking those outside shots and would force Ibaka to be out of the paint if he doesn’t want a wide open 3 to be taken.
    I’m just saying I like this Spurs team not only winning this series but winning in the Finals.

  17. Thereesonable says:

    I’m a Spurs fan, and I think that it would be just in time a last title in Duncan, Parker and Ginobili era. They deserve it, they are a TRUE TEAM.

  18. Sidi says:

    Spurs will likely swept D series if they win the first three game. But i am very sure that the Mighty Spurs are going to win the series in 5. Being a BIG fan of the Spurs, I just per-order a costume License Plate stating “My Spurs 5″. And also going to get a Spurs Logo tattoo this Summer. My dog is going to get a Spurs tattoo also. Spurs all the way.

  19. spurs fan says:

    This is a tough series for the spurs and i agree to others that who ever win this series can win it all i dont think miami can win a series versus this 2 western powerhouse.the spurs have advantage to this series because of there exp and discipline to play this game..spurs have 3 veterans guy a.k.a the big 3.the spurs cant never limit durant scoring and im sure that he will be average 25+ points for this series.westbrook is not a problem for the spurs even his to much speed.his a turnover machine and the spurs will take that opportunity.i dont see the okc can win this series not because im a spurs fan its because the way i see the spurs play TOGETHER and compare to the thunder’s ISOLATION play..but i dont think spurs can sweep the thunders maybe at 6 spurs win.

  20. spurs in 5 or 6 says:

    okc will not win this series i am an avid spurs fan and whenever i watch them play okc they always win, The spurs are too deep and duncan is playing at a very high level, Boris Diaw and If he plays matt bonner can also spread the floor which takes alot of serge ibakas defense/shot blocking out of the game, Tim duncan vs Perkins 1 on 1 no help D from serge ibaka is obviously a mismatch, Perkins is wayy to aggressive and he annoys players like bynum and howard in the past years but Tim duncan is too smart will use his agrresiveness against him and he will be in foul trouble, westbrook plays too tight look how well he guarded Jason Terry because most of the time Jason terry just shoots the ball but parker will drive and score at will and kick to open shooters, The spurs defense is just harrasing one player and not letting him get any open looks and to annoy him, Like with the Jazz Al Jefferson was the guy they didnt allow to do much and in the second series they didnt let cp3 do much because of the terrific pick and roll defense but some of it was his injury tho, Either westbrook or Durant will have a really bad series and im guessing its going to be westbrook because he has much more flaws. But No way this series is going more than 6 games.

  21. Bloodclot says:

    Both teams deserve this. Good attitude, solid work ethic and very poise in crunch time. One of the greatest playoff matches to be written in the books. May the better team win, though i’m rooting for the SPURS! GO SPURS GO!

    • dattebayo says:

      I don’t think, Pop will let KD get going to that extent, there are always adjustments that can be made and Game 1 proves that. Durant had no open looks and basically scored at the line and in transition.

      I think it would be great if KD gets going and scores more, the series would be even more competitive than it is now. The way the Spurs are playing right now, I have my doubts that he will…

      btw. I am a Timberwolves fan…

  22. TeamKD says:

    @RRam The regular season and the playoffs is a different story. Durant will have at least 25 every game and its no way Okc get blowing out, its not happening. Durant will score 40 at least one game in the series. People will learn in the playoffs this year to not bet your money against KD because you will lose it!

    • dattebayo says:

      @TeamKD:

      I don’t think, Pop will let KD get going to that extent, there are always adjustments that can be made and Game 1 proves that. Durant had no open looks and basically scored at the line and in transition.

      I think it would be great if KD gets going and scores more, the series would be even more competitive than it is now. The way the Spurs are playing right now, I have my doubts that he will…

      btw. I am a Timberwolves fan…

  23. daniel.b says:

    ppl are saying that the spurs thunder series will be close well points wise, but i think the spurs will handle it 5 or 6games.. lakers could of in the series been easily been up if it wasnt for the late collapses.. spurs are better and could finish the thunder off more easiier then the lakers

  24. bojimmy says:

    I’m a Mavs fan and i say spurs in 5 or 6. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not seen the spurs play this year. The spurs are like the Patriots of the NFL with coach Pop and Duncan being Belichik and Brady…and they turn unknown players into great players. Leonard and Green have been very impressive.

  25. JAWS3 says:

    Frankly, I’m tired of all these “experts” talking about how the Spurs should be worried because OKC beat the Lakers and Mavs. Has everyone forgotten that the Spurs destroyed the Lakers the last two times they played them? AND they beat the Thunder the last two times they played them. Their squad has gotten even better since they met on March 16th. Please understand that THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS ARE NOT THE AND MAVERICKS! The Thunder need to be worried, not the Spurs. If Westbrook has one of the 3 for 20 shooting nights, they could lose by 30 pits. A jump shooting team that relies on one-on-one play to win is not going to beat a Gregg Popovich-coached team. OKC will be lucky to win more than one game in this series. Spurs are clearly the better team, and in one week, everyone will know that.

  26. Damien says:

    First of all I think that the true champ will be revealed by the conference finals. The Spurs play great team basketball, so I hope they will win, but OKC really has a beautiful championship caliber team, they’re younger and more athletic than the Spurs. I also think that everything will go down to 2 matchups : Parker/Westbrook and Duncan/Ibaka-Perkins… I’m predicting an upset by the young guns who will go to the finals to win it all… OKC in seven…

  27. Okc says:

    Okc will win 4-2 and win the finals

    • dattebayo says:

      Hey, if they do, congratulations, a job well done.

      I really doubt they will win this series though, because they will need to make it a close game and hope Durant hits a three to win those 4 games at the end. They will not outscore the Spurs…

  28. Argentina says:

    ginobili is the best!

  29. Cedric says:

    This is not a OKC Blog It is the Spurs so if you are not a fan of the Spurs get off. Spurs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. RRam says:

    NBA 2K12 Simulation Has Spurs winning in 5. Check out the link. http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/tech/post/_/id/734/nba-2k12-simulation-spurs-vs-thunder

    • Belizeboy says:

      LMAO! You’re talking about OKC last year when the Spurs got knocked out 1st round by and 8th seed! Also while you’re talkinga bout injuries keep in mind this year Westbrook is pretty banged up and still ballin. Not to mention they have been without their backup Maynor for half the season.

  31. tony says:

    I saw several Spur game this year and have to admit they played very impressive however too much credit is given to Pop. If he is such invisible like they proclaim he is, then why on earth did they got swept last year. He could have at least one or two game. I’m going with OKC.

    • Nate says:

      Because the Spurs were a different team, different game plan last year, duh!!! Don’t you watch basketball? Pop totally changed the Spurs way of playing to maximize his roster talent, that’s whey they’re tops in the league in scoring this year, and even though they may not be the defensive team they were in their championship years, they can still bring the D when it matters, that’s why I’m predicting the Spurs are going to get another title this year.

    • RRam says:

      If OKC is so great, why did you lose to Dallas last year? Injuries happen. Different team this year. I would say Spurs in 4. but I know the refs are going to give OKC the majority of the calls in at least one game in OKC. So Spurs in 5

    • Jak says:

      buddy the spurs did not gt swept last year…… but the did loose to an 8 seed

    • gameon says:

      they were not the same team last year – different guys on the team last year george, jefferson etc they are gone now and they have some young guys who know the game and know that they are on an elite team so they play that way. They have a deep bench, a great coach, a hall of famer, and an all star point guard they are an all around better team Russell is going to be challenged in this series and so are Perkins and Ibaka Tim may be getting older but he is still Tim Duncan.

  32. TeamKD says:

    Okc see will win this series in 6 games. Its funny somebody on here said that Jackson and Leornard going to hold Durant under 25 lol You are crazy Metta World Peace could not hold him under 25 and he got great defense. What makes you think Leornard and Jackson going to stop him? You are crazy for thinking that!

    • RRam says:

      In the three games against the Spurs, Durant had 21, 22 and 25. What makes you think with the additions we added, He’s going to go off for more? If Durant has huge numbers it’s because the Spurs have put the game away and the Starters are resting while OKC puts up garbage points.

      • Belizeboy says:

        Because you’re talking about the regular season which really means nothing at this point. Given Durant and Westbrooks performances so far I’d say that they won’t be contained by San Antonio. At the same time Tony Parker will be a big threat for OKC and Duncan is looking pretty good as well.

    • dattebayo says:

      hey dude, I am gonna give it to you now:

      Durant had 27 points in Game 1. 11 points came from the line and he had like 10 in transition by Spurs turnovers that led to fastbreaks. He had no open looks from anywhere and he only made one shot over Leonard. Overall he went 8-19 and he didn’t take more shots because the Spurs won’t let him score. Just because Leonard and Jackson may not be as good individual 1on1 defenders as MWP, doesn’t mean he will drop 40 on them every night. Leonard and Jackson will crowd Durant and there will always be help to double or trap, when necessary. It just goes to show you have not seen the Spurs play ball and think the Thunder can’t be beat.

      You will be schooled, just as the Spurs school OKC in every game this series…

  33. oxenbridge23 says:

    No matter how much I love OKC, I do not think they stand a chance against the team that successively gang-raped the Jazz and the Clips. The season and the playoffs, so far, have been about depth and execution: when the Spurs struggle with their execution (rare sight), a waterboy comes up to hit dagger threes. I may be wrong, but I really think they won’t be beaten.

    • SpursFanEAzy says:

      Well said my friend. Good to see a fan of the opposite team commend the greatness whom they are preparring to battle. The Thunder as a group are indeed a strong team who have gained the will and fight to win important games. The Spurs are all around simply the best, i really dont see any NBA team stopping us from receiving that 5th championship. Spurs beat Oklahoma 4-2.
      That being said a sweep still can be possible, but ill wait til Sunday to make that bold statement.

  34. Nate says:

    Spurs win 4-1, predicting at least 2 of those games they’ll win by 10+ pts. I’m not a Spurs fan, just stating my opinion that the best over all team will win. Even if OKC wins, i’m fine with that, I’m also rooting for them too, either way it’s going to be an interesting series.

  35. Deon Smooth says:

    I think this series will go to Game 7. Both are really good teams with great coaches! It will be an exicting series for a true basketball fan. Go Thunder!

  36. Nathan says:

    SPURS BABY SPURS! We got this in 6 max. Show those young legs what old experience can do. Can’t wait for Sunday.

  37. yojne says:

    This series is so interesting and I think OKC will pull-out a huge upset… Experience team like Lakers is having a difficult time with the young guns of OKC…. 4-2 and OKC will advance to Finals..

    • borderlineinsane says:

      Aaaaaaaaaaaand this experienced Spurs team is different from the experienced Lakers. Lakers are playing like punks, Spurs are playing like a team. Spurs in 5 or 6.

    • RRam says:

      We’re not the Lakers

  38. me says:

    and coming up next West 4-0 East

  39. dattebayo says:

    The Spurs in 5. The Thunder meet once again a deep veteran team, that has experienced everything imaginable and is well coached. Tony Parker is playing at a MVP level, they move the ball better than any other team in the league and their 3P% will never go down much because they only shoot wide open 3s. The Thunder may have gotten better individually, but they still rely too much on Westbrook and Durant making Jumpers regularly. The Spurs guarded the Pick and Roll perfectly against the Clippers and Chris Paul and they will do so again with Westbrook and Durant.

    I believe Duncan will school them just like Dirk did last season, Neal, Bonner and Ginobili will make timely threes, Leonard and Jackson won’t let Durant score more than 25 and Tony Parker will pick apart the Thunders defense worse than what JJ Barea did last year. I don’t believe in experience or rings winning over youth, because I have never seen experience or rings play, but I believe in good basketball and the Spurs are playing ridiculously good right now.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Leonard and Jackson won’t let KD score more than 25? Seriously? KD scored more than 25 against MWP, who is a far better defender than those two combined, plus KD also scored effieciently instead of jacking up shots like Kobe.

      • canyon15 says:

        Durant is only averaging 22 against the spurs so saying under 25 isn’t that much of a stretch.

      • dattebayo says:

        Hey, KD is a beast and the leading scorer in the league, he can score the ball and getting 25 every game against the Spurs is a major feat. But you are not gonna tell me Kevin Durant will consistently and efficiently score 30 or more points in every game in this series, are you now?

  40. Hector says:

    GO SPURS GO
    Spurs have this on lock they have answers to any type of defense they have multiplie offenses

  41. FCarv says:

    Scare? No. Probably still a little bit immature.
    Nevertheless it’s the second time they face this situation and they have seen Mavericks at their best last year, and could make some noise even last year if it wasn’t the late run of the Mavs, specially Dirk, on a extremely important game.

    But this year is a whole new story. Even if the Lakers wasn’t the Lakers we all know about, it’s still the Lakers, but they looked like the ones who got experience and not the Lakers.

    I do beleive OKC will come out the best team in this series, but it will certainly be hard. I hope so, because i’m not just a OKC fan, i’m a NBA fan, therefore I like when it gets interesting/hard fought game.

    Best Regards,
    FCarv

  42. crazyjoe says:

    there is no I in TEAM

  43. BFoulds says:

    Spurs DRIVE FOR 5!

  44. erny7777 says:

    Spurs win 4-2. Okc will loose. Experience and a solid teamwork is wat wins championships. Okc is new to this. They are scared at this point.

    • Z says:

      this conference championship will be OKC’s seventh playoff series. They played last year’s eventual champion Mavs team in the conference finals. They are young, sure, but this is not their first postseason trip. They’ve had quick series and long ones this year and last, they’ve beaten teams by double digits and edged out the competition with last-minute heroics. Durant and Westbrook were part of last year’s young, talented World Championship team that played under immense pressure on an international stage and thrived in it. Do the Spurs have an edge? I think so, but let’s stop pretending that OKC is comprised of terrified teenagers. They aren’t inexperienced anymore, not after 3 postseason berths and two conference final appearances.

    • QuestionMark says:

      OKC has been here before, they have nothing to be scared of, and they showed that in the Playoffs against the Lakers and Mavs, they were down in the 4th against L.A in two games by 13 and 7 and won both games and one game against the Mavs, unlike last year where they made bad shots in the 4th, for example last year in Dallas, KD tried to hit a deep 3 over Marion and got blocked, this year he drove in and hit a floater instead of just jacking up a 3. OKC knows how to play and knows how to win, they also have veteran leadership to help them, Fisher won 5 rings and Mohammed won a ring with Spurs, you can pretty much say Fisher is a coach, and KD, Westbrook and Harden faced defeat last year in the WCF, so they know what they have to do win, even it is gonna be tough.

      • Sportman003 says:

        Yeah, but the Spurs were 2 out of 3 without Manu and still took it to OKC. Manu should only add to their worries and they are worried. Spurs in 4

    • Spurs should be scared they haven’t been here for a few years and the window is closing on the spurs, it runs thru duncan and ends with duncan and he’s getting older. There’s alot of players other then the big three that have not been this deep in the playoffs.

    • Belizeboy says:

      Right, because that experience won it for the Spurs last year. Winning a championship is dependent on various factors being right, not just experience. OKC has solid scorers, a good bench, good coach, and are far more athletic than San Antonio. The Spurs would be the favorite to win in the series but to straight up say OKC will lose just sounds unintelligent IMO.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      experience and team work, werent the Mavericks and the Lakers pretty experienced

    • erny7777 says:

      I dont carecwat u say, im sure spurs win it. Talent or no talent. Experience or no experience, spurs win championship. Done deal!!!

  45. JohnT says:

    This series is going to be about poise, composure and execution. Whoever holds fort on these categories will take the floor for the Finals.

  46. Amitpal says:

    Ginobili might not had shot well against the clippers but he made timely basketball. Him and Danny green made dagger three pointers. Like right when clippers would be starting to go on a run and him and Danny would nail and three. So not to worried about his. Actually I’m going for okc so hope he stays struggling. Struggling Because of good defense of course not because he’s injured or anything.

  47. Hg says:

    Ginobili has it right, it doesn’t matter what went on before, this is a new series with new players. It will be a fun filled series.