Spurs’ Eggs Are In Ginobili’s Basket

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SAN ANTONIO — There was a time a few weeks ago when Gregg Popovich was ready to cook him breakfast.

Now the Spurs coach would like actually to light a fire under Manu Ginobili himself.

The player whose game most closely resembles an omelet — a little bit of this, a dash of that — has been walking on eggshells since the start of The NBA Finals.

That is, when he’s been walking at all.

Too many times through the first four games against the Heat, Ginobili has been stumbling around the court, struggling to keep his dribble, failing to accelerate past his defender and get all the way to the hoop, badly misfiring on his jumper.

Things had gotten so bad in the second half of Game 4 Thursday night that the Baseline Bums — the loyal, rabid group of Spurs fanatics that has loudly supported the team since back in the old ABA days — chanted “Don’t shoot!” when the ball came into Ginobili’s hands. As someone said, it was like the moment that Al Gore lost Tennessee, an utter loss of faith.

The question, of course, is whether all those ticks on the game clock, all those nicks and bruises and torn tendons and stretched hamstrings from all those games around the globe for the Spurs, the Argentine national team and four professional seasons in Italy have finally caught up to him.

The irony is that Ginobili, who’ll turn 36 next month, says he’s feeling his fittest since training camp. Yet he has made just 6-of-18 shots and scored only five, seven and five points since the Spurs won the opener of the series in Miami. In reality, these Finals are just a continuation of his worst playoff season ever, shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 29.8 on 3-pointers.

“I wish I could score more, but it’s not happening,” Ginobili said. “I have to do other stuff. I don’t have to force the issue.”

That is a topic of debate up and down the banks of the famous San Antonio Riverwalk and in the Spurs’ locker room. While it is one thing for an individual player not to blow up the chemistry lab, Ginobili’s knack through his first 10 seasons — and three previous championship runs — has been to do the unexpected.

In fact, other than a brief stretch in the very first game of the playoffs against the Lakers, Ginobili’s only real positive stamp on the playoffs for the Spurs was when he topped off a horrible 5-for-20 shooting night by draining a 3-pointer at the end of double-overtime to beat the Warriors.

Teammate Tim Duncan wants to see more of that unpredictable, aggressive Ginobili.

“I think he’s trying to be incredibly unselfish,” Duncan said. “He’s trying to make the right play at the right time instead of looking more for his own.”

“Yeah, we definitely need Manu,” said point guard Tony Parker. “I think everybody needs to help him get his confidence going. But I have a lot of confidence in Manu. I’m sure he’s going to break out of that slump.”

The talk sounds very similar to the encouragement on the Miami side before Dwyane Wade’s breakout in Game 4. There were the whispers and his age and the wear and tear on his body after all the years of throwing his body all over the court.

Then Wade went out and seemingly willed himself to turn back the clock to become The Finals MVP star who carried Miami to a title in ’06. Sometimes it’s not about trying to fit in or run with the rest of crowd, but racing out in front and challenging your teammates to keep up. Wade’s turbo-charged performance right from the start pulled LeBron James back into his MVP orbit.

“I don’t have to force the issue,” Ginobili insists.

But that’s just it, he does.

Either Manu goes back to being the guy Popovich wants to make breakfast for or all of the Spurs are cooked.

17 Comments

  1. Ginobiliiiiiiiiiiiiii-SPURS!
    Awesome win in gm 5 Spurs-yet still need to stop/cut way down the turnovers. I knew Ginobiliiiiiiiiiii would get hot-now he’ll stay hot-making plays is when he’s @ his best. TP & TD can just keep being themselves & everyone else Leonard, Green, Neal & the rest all have the confidence & fortitude to finish the job & win the next gm!
    GO SPURS!
    SPURS ALL THE WAY!!!

  2. agustín says:

    now that game 5 has ended. i can laugh of the comments made above by “Big AL, Ranjit, J, TMACISBACK, Richard, isiah thomas, etc..” don´t poke a giant… you know?

  3. SebastianTk says:

    LOL! Well… he has some eggs that´s for sure

  4. Big Al says:

    Stop trying to wind back the clock for Manu. Other than the game winner in the Spurs first encounter with the Warriors, he hasn’t really done much in this playoffs. He did try a few flops, but was unsuccessful. His only miracle game would be a three-point spree like Green and Neal in Game 3, but he won’t be that all-rounder he once was. He’s not gonna be back to 2003 Ginobili, so just accept it and do not put unnecessary pressure on him.

  5. Cristian says:

    VAAMOOOS MAAANNNUUUUUUUU!!!

  6. Ranjit says:

    Well pop needs to give manu 5 minutes ! If he is struggling again, I am all for T-Mac ! He seems to be doing good with health and he has been very explosive in China. It will totally upset miami’s plan!

  7. realist2013 says:

    Start him for game 5. The end. Manu needs to dig himself out. A bit of good pressure and confidence can go a long way. Stop over thinking it and just let him play.

  8. kevin paguio says:

    San Antonio Spurs will win in Game 5! You will see,

  9. J says:

    wade is 31 manu is preety much 36 now the way he is playing he will score 0 on 0-19 fg 0-6 ft in game 5 and 1 on 0-11 fg and 1-6 ft in game 6 lol only joking i love manu but i think age has not only caught up with him but its ahead of him
    heat in 6!!!

  10. TMACISBACK says:

    T-Mac Should Be Given a Chance I dont Think Manu Can Give A San Antonio a Push You See T-Mac is A PlayMaker and He is A Scorer But One Thing Spurs Didnt Know That T-Mac Can Score A lot than Manu if T-Mac Given a Chance.You See Tracy in HAWKS he was Struggling But in China He is the Explosive Guy in Qingdao Eagles.If Im POP I just Give Tracy A Chance To Play…

  11. Richard says:

    They should sit Manu until he gets his head on straight. When he is out there it’s like the Heat have 5 on 4!

  12. Dragutin says:

    He should penetrate the defense all the time and look for his shoots on the free trow line.I watched him ever since his days in Italy and the men was always going inside for the layup or the dunk or making a great team play with fancy pases.He is shooting contested shoots and missing or shooting open shoots completely drained.The thing is shooting was never his strong point he is a natural cuter.Miami is just warming up and SA needs everyone in top form if they think of maintaining the illusion that they are equal in talent witch they are not.James is still MVP and the other players can make a splash on any given game.Game 4 shows that Miami has adjusted to San Antonio’s defense and tactics and now all it comes down to the stars.They do need him but I think they are going to fall short if they put faith in a 35 year old white guy against James.

  13. Louis York says:

    Manu doesn’t care anymore, because nobody cared about Manu. You should have cared in 05, when he should have won finals MVP hands down, you gave it to Duncan. He had the entire USA olympic team shaking in their shoes, as the leading scorer of the olypics, then he gets hurt. NBA gave him no credit, and continued to put him down. He was probably going to win another gold in the face of the best USA players…AGAIN!!!!! He is one of the greatest players alive, and is a sleeping giant, and is chosing to sleep. All you journalists keep taking shots at him, criticising him through the years. All you hear about is Duncan, Parker, as being great, but rarely ever is Manu spoken of in this way. Where are they at?? Manu is tired of putting his heart and soul in to the game, just so you guys can say Duncan is the greatest. Manu beat duncan for a gold metal people!!! Manu sat back in 07 finals cause Parker was rolling. Manu will not be underestimated, and doesn’t mind taking the blame either. He knows what he can do, and so do I. He can turn it on and off, and is chosing to make Duncan be who all you guys keep saying he is. He has the highest winning percentage of any basketball player alive….Check it!!! He is the beast!! And the beast doesn’t care anymore, and I solute him..

  14. isiah thomas says:

    I am really struggling to understand some people. Why would anyone think that manu would be a factor in this series since he’s been struggling not even through all playoffs but all season. I am asking the guys who thought spurs was playing with big 3 with manu this year : what were u expecting? A magical thing to happen and manu suddenly becoming a force against the 2012 champions ? I blame the journalists as well,they are writing surreal things like if nothing was wrong with manu and he was playing like manu that everybody is accustomed to. Something is wrong with him,it might be the injury,unfitness,unconfidence or age or whatever but it is real ! Same thing with Wade. Injuries affect him and you can see it easily. Why wade was non existent previous 3 games ? it was the same thing against the pacers,injuries limited him and he can only show burts of old Wade in 1 or 2 games of a 7 game series. I am sorry to make you awake from your dreams but that’s the truth.