Manu Ginobili, like the rest of the San Antonio Spurs, has been in excellent form of late. During their very impressive 121-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Ginobli was one of three Spurs players to score at least 20 points, impressing the most with a bullet of an assist to Matt Bonner.
Ginobili finished the game with 20 points and 7 assists, heating up just in time for the postseason after missing half of it due to an injury he picked up earlier on. The Spurs, despite the usual injury-age problems and warnings don’t seem to mind, doing well with or without him, leading the West with a 46-16 record, 0.5 games behind the Bulls for best record in the NBA.
Ginobili is averaging 12.9 points per game this season, his lowest scoring output since his first two seasons with the Spurs, but he’s been playing less than 24 minutes a night, usually coming off the bench. I guess these minutes will pick up once the playoff begins.
It was the Spurs’ big three that starred against the Lakers, not enjoying Kobe Bryant returns, limited to 29 minutes. Tim Duncan led the way with 21 points while Parker and Ginobili added 20 each. This year, more than ever, these 60+ nights from the trio, are a rarity. The reliance on the other guys, on what is probably the deepest team in the West, is greater than ever.
I can see Parker and Ginobili carrying the scoring during the postseason. Duncan? Not on a game-to-game basis. The importance of Leonard, Splitter, Green, Bonner, Neal, Jackson, Blair and Diaw is pretty obvious. Can they upgrade their impressive body of work into the postseason? Less obvious, although the Spurs are entering the playoffs as the hottest team in the NBA.