I bet you all were just pining for yet another one of these. And soooo my very inefficient list of best Manu Ginobili games continues. Here’s another one.
#8) 2012 Western Conference Finals: Game 5 vs OKC
The Spurs lost this game. Let’s get that out of the way. It was devastating and then when they lost Game 6 and the series, I took two days off from work because I am truly someone who knows what my priorities are.
But this is one of my favorite Manu games.
Duncan is the steady leader of the team. Parker is the guy who gets them going early in games and is constantly in attack mode. But Manu is the x-factor who strikes when the Spurs absolutely need him. Sometimes the Spurs are dead in the water and he pulls them from the depths. Sometimes, the Spurs are locked in a neck and neck game and they just need a push from Manu to give them some breathing room. Sometimes, the Spurs are in position to steal a game and they just need Manu to be Manu for a few minutes at the end.
Well the Spurs needed that burst.
They were rattled. Losing those two games in OKC did a number on them and Parker was looking shook and Timmy wasn’t asserting himself. The hope that home court would turn things around looked foolhardy. Durant, Westbrook, and Harden were wreaking havoc and it felt like they were in complete control of the game. Offensive rebounds, role players stepping up, it was all Thunder.
So how the hell was the game close in the first half with the majority of the Spurs playing meekly? Well Manu was not going down quietly.
He had his great passes in the first half. He had some tough jumpshots. He had a ridiculous and-one where he rebounded his own miss and basically threw the ball through the rim so that it bounced its way in. Manu was keeping the Spurs afloat. All he needed was for the rest of the team to come to life.
But they refused to. Tony finished 5/14 and continued to look stymied. Timmy took a grand total of ten shots.
And so Manu sensed his moment and had one of the best bursts I’ve seen from him.
Sure the numbers weren’t thaaat impressive. He had 13 points in the third quarter and 34 for the game. But what was impressive is that, with no help from anyone not named Stephen Jackson, Manu basically gave the Spurs the lead against the monsters from OKC. When the rest of the team was timid, Manu was hitting one three off an offensive rebound, another on the next play, stealing the ball in the backcourt, hitting some ridiculous layups, and hitting another three. He was keeping Durant, Westbrook, and Harden at bay. He was pumping his fist like only Manu can (a severely underrated aspect of his game). All he needed was some GODDAMN help.
One of the all-time great fist pumpers.
Unfortunately, he just never got that help. He gave the Spurs the six point lead and the jolt they needed. He single-handedly got the fans believing again for a quarter. He had us all thinking we were going to turn this game around. But without any help (though Tim finally woke up with six minutes left in the 4th), he just couldn’t pull it out. Chalk this one up as a devastating loss.
But despite that, this game is one of the prime examples of Manu’s winning spirit. Where the rest of the team was in its own head, Manu was valiantly going right at the Thunder’s young trio. With the season slipping away, Manu did his best to right the ship. He basically played a flawless game and tried to will his team to rise up. But unfortunately, the rest of the team let him down this game.
“If I squint really hard, I think I can see a teammate.”
Wow, I am getting worse at these. Thus, you are stuck with just one game this time. More to come!