Ginobili Seizes Chance To Start, Then Scorches The Heat In Game 5


SAN ANTONIO — The two-day buildup — a wait Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says was “like death” — certainly seemed a slow, uncomfortable march toward an unexpected funeral. It was the sudden end of the road for beloved family member Manu Ginobili.

Turns out the vibe was all wrong.

Sunday night exploded into a big, fat Argentine wedding. There was dancing and singing and celebrating and chants of “Manu! Manu!” The AT&T Center roared with the atmosphere of a welcomed revival and the deliverance of sweet redemption for Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs’ Game 5 hero.

Just as LeBron James and especially Dwyane Wade had risen to claim Game 4, as if on cue or following this weird Finals script, Ginobili set the Game 5 tone in his first start in more than a year. And now it’s the Spurs who are on the brink of a fourth title in 10 years and a fifth in 15 with the 114-104 victory for a 3-2 series lead.

And just about 72 hours after James and the Heat seemed to suck the life out of San Antonio in this wildly unpredictable series, may the never-ending referendum on James’ legacy resume with he and the Heat on the ropes.

Just a day earlier, Ginobili had stood behind a podium and a microphone on the same arena floor. The word retirement spilled from his mouth. Even if it was only because of the gathering frustration within him, incapable of articulating, or even understanding, his own demise in this postseason. Maybe it was just dejection that he wasn’t shouldering his load with this long-awaited opportunity at another, possibly the last, championship at stake.

“He did seem dejected,” Tim Duncan said. “He’s a competitor, an extreme competitor. And he wants to play well and he wants to help our team do well. Just like a lot of us, we lose games and we take the blame for it. He’s just the same way and he wanted to play well really badly.”

Popovich, either desperate to jumpstart his longstanding sixth man or countering the Miami Heat’s revamped, smaller starting lineup — Pop claimed both — told the 6-foot-5 Ginobili on Saturday that he’d start. Just weeks from turning 36, he would be in the starting lineup for the first time since Pop shook things up in the elimination Game 6 of the West finals more than a year ago.

The Spurs’ first possession was designed for Tony Parker, but Ginobili took the shot — banging in a 22-footer, a step-back jumper initially ruled a 3-pointer but knocked down to a 2 after a video review. Then came a pass to sizzling Danny Green for an easy layup, and on the next possession he dished to Duncan for a dunk. Then came the first two of his eight free-throw attempts. In the opening two minutes of crucial Game 5, Ginobili had already been as active and as impactful as at any point in the series.

He never stopped scorching Miami with the full Manu Platter: executing one-on-one dribble penetrations, well-timed kick-outs and classic Ginobili awkward finishes around the rim to bury the Heat with a killer double-double. He finished with a season-high 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting and 10 assists in 33 electric minutes. He had had 17 points and nine assists in the last three games combined.

With 2:21 left in the third quarter, and Ginobili on another mini-tear that broke open a 75-74 lead that had been whittled down from 17 in the first half, the chants of “Manu! Manu!” flooded the arena of 18,581. So many wearing his No. 20 jersey, unprepared and unwilling to say goodbye to Ginobili for the last time.

“I needed it,” Ginobili said. “I was having a tough time scoring and I needed to feel like the game was coming to me and I was being able to attack the rim, get to the free-throw line and make a couple of shots. So it felt great when I heard that [the chant]. To feel that I really helped my team to get that 20-point lead, it was a much-needed moment in the series.”

The Spurs never trailed, but the sold-out house seemed to hold its breath as the Heat continued to mount counter-attacks. When it got to be 75-74, it felt like the scales might tip. They did, back to San Antonio. Green, now the all-time leader for 3-pointers in Finals history, hit another big one to make it 78-74.

Ginobili followed with a fabulous baseline drive around Ray Allen for a three-point play, and on the next possession he blew by Norris Cole for a floater to make it 83-74. The next trip down he whipped a pass into the lane for Tiago Splitter, who not only managed to hold onto the pass but also finished with a layup and the run was 10-0.

It would balloon to 19-1 and the crowd roared and Ginobili felt fulfilled and the Spurs empowered to win one more and win it all. When the series shifts back to South Florida on Tuesday night, the Larry O’Brien Trophy will be in the house.

“I needed to feel more important, more of a threat attacking the rim,” Ginobili said. “It was good to see it happen.”

If he can do it again, Sunday’s Game 5 party will have nothing on what’s to come.



  1. Kevin Martinez says:

    GOOD to see some emotion from Manu. WHY IS EVERYONE FORGETTING TIM DUNCAN? He was a shining tar also.

  2. Shiv says:

    Well, here is to hoping that the officiating in game 6 isnt biased towards getting a game 7 on the road. Lets face it a game 7 for the flashy miami team in its home court will bring big bucks for NBA and strong bonuses for referees too. So lets hope they dont tilt the officiating in favor of Big Market Miami. The replays from game 5 and game 4 show how the Miami players like Chalmers, Bosh were hacking Duncan and others to prevent them from getting rebounds. I think these two teams are matched pretty well. They should win or lose on their own teams. Not because the league would like to maximize its revenues by pushing its league super star over good basketball.

  3. guillermo ruggiero says:

    could someone explain to me why manu gets more press when he is not playing great?

  4. Big Ticket PH says:

    that’s the Manu I want to see play! time for the Spurs to win their 5th overall championship spanning 3 decades… hope it will be Spurs in 6… no offense for coach Spo, though… 🙂

  5. oraculus says:

    I predict game 6 is decisive. Greg and the 3 big guys know that this is their moment, its game 6 or never¡ In game 7 Spurs will be easy pray to the young animals brutal offensive…

  6. tutan camon says:

    vamos Manu, vamos Spurs!! what a basketball team!!

  7. NateP says:

    Boris Diaw’s stats might not show but he was effective the whole 20 something minutes he was on the court. I always felt Boris Diaw is a smart player and great with his feet, even since his phoenix days. Last night proved it. He defended Lebron well throughout the game. He sagged off Lebron and allowed him to take the jumper but is also long enough to contend the shot. And since he’s not playing Lebron tight, he’s able to defend his drives better. He’s also strong enough to defend lebron backing down. They are treating him like the same 2007 Lebron giving him absolutely no respect for his improvement in his jump shot. Spurs 2013!!, and always been a spurs fan. LEGO!

  8. pacquiaoverated says:

    props to the spurs, great game everyone contributed, now will the spurs stop with the fake parker injury? he never slowed down in this finals, someone with that injury should not be able to move that fast, even saying that it might tear anytime soon, no ones believing fake injury anymore, just be the great spurs team stop all the nonsense injury blah blah.

  9. SASFFA says:

    Its too early to talk abt the Spurs victory, but what i really want to don right now is lol on the face of the quartet of Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Michael Wilbon all of them predicted Heat to win in 6… forget the fans even these guys thought Spurs would be a no-show against the Heat…

    • 34yr fan says:

      excellent point about the ….uh..I guess we call them “commentators”…… all of them are ‘star’ watchers….but I thought Magic was coming around, but that prediction was just too …..predictable !!!!……

  10. Mikala says:

    The Spurs have been a model franchise. The players play “basketball” and they WIN! These finals will be taken by the greatest NBA team ever….SPURS ARE THE CHAMPIONS!. LeBron and his bunch just are not as skilled nor as consistent as the team who will take away their title this playoff season. LeBron, Wade & Bosh practice up this summer and maybe next year you can try it again. SPURS WINNNNNNNNNN!

  11. ene be a says:

    Heat in 7. Why?, I see went it comes. After James and the heat has done this past 2 year, I don’t think they will go down on 6, not in 7 either. I hope for an easy win in game 6, then an back and foward movie Like Overture Game 7, of course thé heat Win James wade Coop finals mvps…
    This is Guacho from pr. A Witness if Lebron James greatness.

    • RG says:

      Heat in 7 because you see when it comes? that doesn’t make any sense at all. good luck with that prediction, but I believe the Spurs can close it out in 6.

  12. Jose Pedro says:

    The empire strikes back..err.. the return of Obiwan Ginobili.. I can see L. bird in him.. THE WILL TO WIN!!

  13. JimD54 says:

    It was Heat in 4 or Heat in 5, now it Heat in 7 HEHEHEEE, Heat fans still hanging on aren’t they.

  14. pedro tvrde says:

    an argentinian pride. a winner, not only in basketball. a model to follow in my country. go manu, your last effort and tomorrow you`ll have your fourth ring and a huge retirement. congrats. a whole country will be in front the TV sets tomorrow.

  15. Michael B. says:

    I dont understand, why the give paul george the most improved player when the one that came from the floor was danny green? i remember when he was cleveland and he was a huge garbage in the team, but why is he rising when cleveland needed him the most. But in what consists in his improvement, is it the spurs team, or he is shooting and he expecting is expecting to make every shot, because if he knows that he doesnt makes those 3s then heat will come at any minute, in some point of the game the heat were losing by 16 points and reduced the gap to losing by 1. So another doubt to me is, those the spurs are relying too much in danny green, becuase every night they win, he is the guy who steps out the more besides parker, manu, and duncan. unfortunately for the heat, it is diffcukt to expect if green is going to make those 3s or not, so Im going to say the truth, put birdman and bosh on the floor and make lebron defend green, there is no other alternative, so lebron with its size and vert should be enough to make green lose a couple of 3s. Lets see what Spoelstra will do tomorrow

    • Loki says:

      Lebron on Green will just make Parker’s life easily. Lebron is the best man for the job of guarding Parker

    • Kamote says:

      Green has had the hot hands during the whole series, even when SAS lost. He just gets more open looks whenever someone else steps up (TD and TP in game 1, Neal and Kawhi in game 3, Manu in game 5). Leaving him with Lebron would then leave Chalmers, Allen, Wade and Norris to defend TP and Manu… and as seen in game 5, they can’t handle the quickness of these two. SAS rotates the ball well that everyone can have that chance to take an open shot. LBJ would be wasting so much energy just chasing Green if that’s what you want.

    • NateP says:

      lol he’s rising because the Spurs develop their players.s They have “real” leaders like Tim Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker who are willing to make sacrifices for the long term benefit of the entire organization. And by sacrifice, I mean salary, statistics, minutes on the floor, etc. Its great playing with Tim and Ginobili. They are always helping their teammates improve even the 12th man.

      If they put Lebron on Green that will only allow parker easier opportunities at the basket since Green just hangs out on the 3 pt line. They even tried to play without a point guard and SA did not even adjust to that., They picked apart Mike Millar and had him switch to Parker via a screen every possession. I believe it was 5 posessions straight at one point.

  16. Bill says:

    The Spurs are the only team in the history of the NBA that can make a guy like Danny Green a Finals MVP. Go Spurs!

  17. Kevo says:

    J is a troll, just a salty Heat fan.

    Spurs in 6.

  18. Michaelp says:

    Ginobili is the greatest Argentinian basketball player of all time. He is one of the best.

  19. leBrick James says:

    whats leBrick’s stats in the last quarter where it matters? 3 pts, 1/5 shooting, 2 TO? nah…. i thought he’ll carry the Heatles? if ray allen dindnt hit those desperation threes late in the fourth, it would be another game 3….

  20. realist2013 says:

    A future HOF player anf you expect him not to show up in what could be their final run? All this Heat this and that and people forget the Spurs are 4-0 in the finals. Manu has gotten his spark back like I knew he would and the Spurs will end it in game 6. Tim, Parker, and Manu know this may be their last run and so do their teammates and they will not let this opportunity go by.

  21. David is All ball says:

    Danny Green has been the Cinderella story of this series and has made for excellent viewing. Congratulations Danny Green on your new NBA Finals record for 3-pointers. You deserve it and remain unwaveringly humble still in acknowledging your blessings. As for Manu, I remember his game in 2005 when they won it all. Yesterday’s Manu was that same 2005 Manu. Since you beat my Memphis, there are no hard feelings. You all got game. Hope you win it all!

  22. Mehr says:

    Bad defense from Heat caused Manu and the rest to shoot the ball 60%.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….sour grapes……..No it was good shooting….remember, even IF you are open you still have to MAKE the shot… is not a given ….

  23. Eugenio says:

    Manu is back! In your face!

  24. MikeR says:

    Danny Green – wow! Congratulations to him and Spurs!

  25. justine says:

    Diaw defended Lebron very well. He is bigger than green and leonard. James can’t overpower him. He settled for jump shots against him…

  26. Marco29 says:

    What a series and succession of turn arounds from one game to another and during the course of the games!! Miami’s big 3 coming out of its slump in Game 4, Manu coming out of his own slump in Game 5. What is it going to be in Game 6? Miller hitting 6/6 from downtown? Splitter with a double-double? Chalmers with 20+ points? This is a great series and the Spurs are a much greater challenge than OKC last year. And it is not over yet. The odds seem to favour the Spurs but Miami will certainly bounce back and we could have a game 7.

  27. Awesome team 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-keep shooting, Neal & the rest all have the confidence & fortitude to finish the job & win the next gm!

  28. J says:

    good to see but not in 6 and 7 ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    heat in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • 34yr fan says:

      ………….lol………………you seem to be doin’ alot of laughing……….not Pop, and certainly Not the Spurs….it is gonna be a great game 6 down in South Beach….. Good Luck to both teams…..GO_SPURS_GO ! ! ! ! ( ! )

  29. Just1.Not2Not3Not4Not5Not6 says:

    If there’s a team you want to close out a finals game, it has got to be the San Antonio Spurs.

  30. Jayson says:

    Go Spurs Go. Manu Has Turned Back Time Vintage Manu is in the House. Old School Rules. Go Spurs Go Take It On Game 6. No Retreat No Surrender That’s The Spurs Law Awooh Awooh. Obi Wan Ginobili Awooh Awooh. Go Spurs Go All The Way…

  31. Wake up Lebron, don´t let that damn gregg popovich have the last laugh!Beat the spurs down in Miami TWICE IN A ROW!

  32. Kamote says:

    Finally, Manu got his game back. Hopefully he’ll bring the same energy to Miami. He provided a big help easing defenses away from Parker. I also hope Pop plays Diaw more in this series. So far good things are happening with him on the floor.

      • Pat says:

        Oh yes he will, it shows how well he can play when he starts with Parker and Duncan. He may not be as strong as James but he has way more finess…Spurs in 6…GO SPURS GO!!

    • justine says:

      Diaw defended Lebron very well. He is bigger than green and leonard. James can’t overpower him. He settled for jump shots against him…