After his awful performance in the NBA finals last season, some thought Manu Ginobili wouldn’t want to return, or even be able to. While not being the most consistent of players, he has his days of brilliance, leading the San Antonio Spurs to an impressive victory over one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
The Spurs, especially on the road, are supposed to struggle against a young and quick team like the Phoenix Suns. However, with Ginobili putting on what some described as a vintage performance off the bench, it was quite difficult to see the Spurs letting this one go.
Ginobili scored 24 points, adding 6 rebounds and 7 assists to go with his 5 turnovers, leading San Antonio to a 108-101 win over the Suns. He looked decisive and aggressive every time he made his way into the lane, either finishing in a spectacular way like he’s known to or kicking it out for an assist. The Spurs hit 47.1% of their field goals and moved the ball quite well, even without the presence of the injured/resting Tony Parker.
Tim Duncan wasn’t too dominant, but he was good enough to finish with 17 points and 13 rebounds, adding 3 blocks as the Suns found it very difficult to score in the paint when he was on the floor, especially when partnered up with Boris Diaw in the frontcourt.
There was nothing special or new in the way the Spurs won this game. It seemed close for the most part, but the feeling was all along that it’s going to end with the Spurs coming through in the end. The execution and the decision making was simply far superior to that of the Suns, who couldn’t get the open floor feel they did earlier in the game, in which Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic might have been a bit more useful. Bledose, for example, was only 1-of-8 from the field in the fourth quarter.
To tell something of the difference in experience and not just among the players, it’s good to use Gregg Popovich, who is the only coach in the NBA who was coaching when Jeff Hornacek was still playing. Entering the game, Duncan’s career minutes (42,064) were 37 more than the 13 players on Phoenix’s active roster combined.
Goran Dragic – We know that we can play well against good teams. We are a young team and we have to learn a lot, especially in these types of games where, in the last three or four minutes, you have to close out the game, and I think we can get there.
Manu Ginobili – I played pretty well. I turned the ball over too much but in general the minutes I played I scored well and I moved the ball. I think I did OK. I’m very happy that I helped the team win because we are in a tough stretch. We lost the last one, we have a tough back-to-back without Tony and then Oklahoma City.