For Ginobili, a slam and sweet redemption

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: Play of the Day: Manu Ginobili muscles past Ray Allen and slams over Chris Bosh

SAN ANTONIO – If a year’s worth of bottled-up anger, frustration and guilt could be flushed in a single play, Manu Ginobili accomplished it Sunday night with a powerful drive against Ray Allen, finished by a thunderous, mouth-agape, left-handed throw-down over Chris Bosh.

The AT&T Center erupted with such force that shockwaves were surely felt in Ginobili’s native Argentina.

Earlier in the season, the 36-year-old Ginobili tried such a maneuver and strained a hamstring. Just a few weeks ago against Oklahoma City, he did it again and got blocked, badly, as he recalled it. His San Antonio Spurs teammates teased him.

“They actually made me promise that I wasn’t going to try that again, and I said, ‘Yes, I won’t try that again,'” Ginobili said following the Spurs’ Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat that clinched the franchise’s fifth championship and fourth of the Big Three era. “But in the heat of the battle with the adrenaline pumping and the situation — really, I don’t know what happened.

“I went hard and once I was in the air, I felt like I had a shot, and I tried.  I think it helped me, and it helped the team too to get pumped up.”

Watch the replay. Tim Duncan might never have smiled so big. He practically burst into laughter as his 38-year-old legs bounded down the floor, his giant hand giving Ginobili’s head a playful I-can’t-believe-what-I-just-saw push.

“It’s so nice. It’s hard to explain. I’m not skilled enough to explain properly how we feel,” Ginobili said in the aftermath of his 19-point, four-rebound, four-assist effort in little more than 28 minutes. “Not only me, I’m pretty sure that Tony [Parker] and Tim [Duncan] and Pop [coach Gregg Popovich] feel the same way. Last year was a tough one for all of us. We felt like we had the trophy, that we were touching it, and it slipped away.  It was a tough summer. We all felt guilty. We all felt that we let teammates down.

“But we work hard. We fought every game in the regular season trying to get better to have the same opportunity again. We got to this spot, and we didn’t let it go.”

A mess of turnovers stressed by mental and physical fatigue a year ago, Ginobili was a stabilizing force throughout this postseason. In the first round when the Spurs were caught off-guard by the Dallas Mavericks and taken to seven games, Ginobili was their best player.

Throughout the title run that then went through Portland, Oklahoma City and finally Miami, Popovich often called upon his super sixth man early in first quarters and sometimes started him in third quarters to either change momentum or sustain it. Popovich did both in Game 5.

Just three minutes, 19 seconds into Game 5, with the Heat off to an 8-0 start, Ginobili subbed in for Danny Green and immediately fed Duncan, who got to the free-throw line. A few minutes later, Ginobili drove and got fouled, completing a 3-point play. On the next possession, he drained a step-back 3-pointer, scoring six points in 21 seconds and getting the Spurs right back in the game after falling behind 22-6.

“He did a great job,” point guard Tony Parker said.

If the NBA awarded its MVP trophy to the best player over the course of the entire playoffs and not solely for The Finals — like the NHL does with the Conn Smythe award — Ginobili would be high on the list.

He averaged only 25.5 minutes a game, but was tied for third on the team in scoring, with Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, at 14.3 points a game. His 4.1 assists per game were just behind Parker’s 4.1, and he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc (41-for-105).

Ginobili, who a year ago questioned his ability to put his aches and pains behind him, sat at the dais Sunday night like a new man, proud, satisfied and a champion yet again.

“I’m at a real high right now,” Ginobili said. “I feel so happy and lucky to be on this team.”

24 Comments

  1. pogsmaw says:

    travelling!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    watch it closely

  2. Kal says:

    Ginobili is the new John Havlicek.

  3. cp10 says:

    GINOBILI!!! (Charles Barkley voice)

  4. imisswatchingthethunder says:

    Manu gets better and better every year. He is, in my opinion, their most valuable player.

  5. Chris says:

    Finals MVP or not, this is a hall of famer. It’s been a joy to watch Manu Ginoboli play all these years. An Even greater joy to see the success he and many others who graced a silver and black uniform have brought to the spurs.

  6. ektushu says:

    MVP!
    Not sure how this important statistic was ommitted by everyone:

    Game1 +/-: Manu +22 (second in the team)
    Game2 +/-: Manu +4 (best in the team)
    Game3 +/-: Manu +9
    Game4 +/-: Manu +27 (best in the team)
    Game5 +/-: Manu +21 (best in the team)

    That means that in every game in the final series SAS outscored Miami WHEN MANU WAS IN THE COURT! EVEN IN GAME 2! And he was the most influential in 3 of the 5 games! THIS IS POSITIVE INFLUENCE TO THE TEAM!

    And probably the last reason why he deserves the MVP – he is probably the only guy in the team that doesn’t care for not getting it – and as everyone knows, Manu does not care about statistics (remember when he refused to get back to the court to get one more rebound and get his first triple double?

    • KFFC says:

      Good point ektushu… I overlooked that one…Amazing stat and confirms hes the spark plug! These Finals he really made up for his letdown last year…so happy he didn’t retire…
      Go Spurs! One more year for Manu, Tim and Tony (plus Kawhi, Boris, Tiago, Danny, Patty, and the rest)

    • educatedron says:

      I like Manu, but he is not MVP. he’s a rich man’s version of the detroit pistons microwave who can shoot and create his own shot. MVP was leonard, can you imagine hom many more points Lebron would of had? Lebron Destroyed Diaow.

      Only player on heat who came to play was lebron and maybe ray allen for a few stretches.

      What no one is talking about is how unimportant Parker has become, in the critical and I mean critical game 6, when he’s in the first half they are down and basically lsot all OKC games by a blow out. He misses the 2nd half then spurs win.

      In game 6 when it mattered Parker was 0 for 10 and wouldn’t play team ball, trying to work his way to getting points when the team didn’t need it. He’s the selfish player of the group of guys.

      Yes, he has a green light but he did not come through. Every time he drives the ball he falls on the ground. Flop , flop , flop.

      Anyways, I am very glad spurs got their revenge. Duncan my favotire player all time apart from Jordan and Pippen.

      Just gotta call it like I see em. Parker makes the ball “stick” only guy who takes forces shots on the team and a poor defender. Mills is better than him now.

  7. KFFC says:

    If the Spurs are a well-oiled machine Manu is the spark plug. Every Spurs fan was uneasy after LeBron started the way he did in game 5 – but then Manu showed self-confidence and had the foot-on-the-neck mentality that pulled everyone along and ended in another blow-out.

    Finals MVP
    Game 1: Duncan
    Game 2: LeBron
    Game 3: Kawhi
    Game 4: Kawhi
    Game 5: Kawhi/Manu

  8. SharpieOne says:

    I’m just glad Ginobili got Ray Allen back for what he did to Marco in game 1. Ray Allen has always been one of the few NBA players that I can’t stand, especially when he played for the SuperSonics. I use to love watching him cry every time Bruce Bowen would guard him.

  9. laurastraughn says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Spurs since David Robinson. Like the team and the rest of the Spurs fans I was heart broken last year but this year’s revenge is sweet. Ginobli is actually my favorite player with the Spurs. I hope all 3 come back next year so I can watch them play together. I have never watched the Spurs play. I love all 3 and now I’m falling for Lenard, the future of the spurs.

  10. #30 says:

    Manu “StoneFace” Ginobili

  11. justin says:

    I am filling my cup full of LeClutch’s tears

  12. AL says:

    Well well well…….that BIG dunk he did over Bosh after a tremendous drive against Ray made him my MVP!!!
    Manu is the fantastic NBA player ever and he with the great point guard TP and “the old man from river walk” are always be my inspiration.

  13. Hadoc says:

    Amazing amazing player. So fun to watch him play

  14. cp10 says:

    __36_YEARS_OLD__ There is still hope for the rest of us!

  15. Andy says:

    Coulden’t agree more with the comment above. Manu has done so much for the Spurs, and always there trough tough times. He was having 16 or 19 pt games with 11 asists and 5 steals in games 1 & 2 when Kawhi hadn’t catched rhythm yet and he kept it going through the series. NBA PLEASE GIVE AN HONORARY MVP AWARD TO MANU!!

  16. MrNBA says:

    Manu should be flat broke right now if the league fined him for every flop he’s made. Surprisingly he didn’t flop as much in the Finals but still.

    • gutix says:

      Flopping was part of the game, if refs can’t see the difference it’s ok for me to take advantage, once the league started punishing flopping Manu stopped doing it, he’s really smart and one of the best players I’ve ever seen play, I don’t like the spurs, I’m a mavs fan but I like Argentina’s basketball team, I’m so glad for Manu and so happy they took Lebron back to earth :D

  17. KMIll says:

    Manu is an AMAZING player and a great teammate!! He really is the teams MVP because there is NO WAY they win the titles they have without his athleticism, skills, and floor vision. The stats show what a huge point differential there is with Manu on the floor. The Spurs are, and always have been, at their best whenever Manu is in the game.

  18. Raulsolaris says:

    MVPs:
    Round 1 vs Dallas: Ginobili & Splitter
    Round 2 vs Portland: Parker & Splitter
    Round 3 vs Oklahoma: Diaw, Ginobili…& Cory Joseph’s dunk!
    ROund 4 vs Miami: Leonard, Diaw…& Manu’s Game 5!

  19. NBA MASTER says:

    MANU IS GREAT YUP REAL MVP OF THE FINALS , BUT LEONARD WAS ALSO GREAT , IM MY OPINION LEONARD IS THE MVP IN THE FINALS COUSE THE DIFFERENT HE MAKE WHEN HE START PLAYING , LOOK GM 1 & 2 SPURS MIAMI LOOK LIKE HAVE A CHANCE ( GM 1 & 2 LEONARD WAS IN LALA LAND ) THEM GM 3 to 5 SPUR DOMINATE THE HEAT ( LEONARD WAKE UP OFF AND DEF ) FOR ME THAT WHY HE THE MVP

  20. Ben says:

    completely agree wiht the previous comment. he has led the spurs to the title. not only with his platy, but as a mastermind and booster for his fellow players. Manu, you should have been MVP a long time ago.

  21. chuful29 says:

    For me, He has been the real MVP these 2014 Playoffs. Sure, his stats are inconsistent and not producing 20+ each game and also those turnovers (comes with the package). But the thing is, he is such an unselfish player that he lets others take over because he knew he can contribute in more ways other than scoring. But damn to the hell! When there is no scoring option from starting 5 and during the times when going gets tough, he is always there to provide all the energy, hustle, and everything else. He really is not going to appear unless really needed (like in dallas series). He is the most competitive player in the league. RIght on top there with the Kobes, MJs.

    Props to Manu! Props to Spurs! GSG! 2014 Champs!