Whoever said ‘Father Time’ is unbeaten clearly hasn’t met Manu Ginobili. Or Tom Brady I’m assuming. Or Roy Jones Jr. for that matter. Did you know Jones Jr. is still fighting professionally at the age of 48?! That’s awesome!! Man, how did I get off topic already?! Anyway….Ginobili, the former 6th Man of the Year, turned back the clock Tuesday night, leading his San Antonio Spurs to victory (110 – 107 F/OT). They became his Spurs when Kawhi Leonard tweaked his ankle in the 3rd quarter after stepping on James Harden’s foot. Leonard would return to the game, but the injury forced him to watch the final 5:34 from the sidelines. With the series tied at 2-2, the atmosphere was tense inside AT&T Center. The fans, who seemingly stood the entire game, were rewarded with the best game of the 2017 playoffs. Exciting games have been few and far between in these playoffs, but Game 5 did not disappoint.
James Harden’s stat-line looks fantastic. He posted a triple-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. However, numbers only tell part of the story. Harden was BRUTAL when it mattered most. Don’t believe me?? That’s okay, just check out James Harden’s final 5:54 of the game:
- He went scoreless on 0-2 shooting
- He had 4 turnovers (9 total for the game)
- He committed a silly foul on Danny Green on a made basket with :30 left in overtime
- And last but certainly not least, his 3-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked from behind by Manu Ginobili
Game 5 was not about Harden’s ugly beard, however, it was about the Spurs resilient performance. While their best player was resigned to the bench, the Spurs embodied the motto ‘Next Man Up’. Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Jonathan Simmons put forth memorable performances. Mills played a team high 43 minutes, contributed 20 points, and hit a game high five 3-pointers (none bigger than the one that brought them within 2 with 2:12 left in regulation). Simmons brought the energy. After every big play, Simmons could be seen screaming and pumping his fists passionately. Simmons was also the culprit in 3 out of Harden’s 4 turnovers down the stretch. Danny Green singlehandedly outscored the Houston Rockets in overtime (7-6). He actually scored all 7 of those points in the final :56 of overtime (impressive right?). And then there’s soon-to-be 40, Manu Ginobili. Ginobili posted 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and most importantly 1 MONSTER BLOCK (as pictured above)!!
Manu Ginobili has been an essential part of the Spurs last 4 championships. And with Tony Parker already out for the remainder of the playoffs, and Kawhi Leonard now hobbled, Ginobili will need to channel the 2006-2007 version himself if he wants to wear ring number 5. Assuming the Spurs do outlast the Rockets, I can’t see them stealing more than 2 games from the Golden State Warriors. I’ll be rooting for Ginobili and the Spurs (even though I’m a loyal Knicks fan), but I think Curry and company will be too much to handle for old man river.
How far do you think the Spurs will go in the playoffs?? Let me know in the comment section below.
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