Taking a Closer Look at Manu Ginobili’s Game Winning Shot

The Spurs mounted an improbable comeback in what was a phenomenal game last night against the Golden State Warriors. They survived a 44 point game from Stephen Curry including a 22 point barrage in the 3rd quarter. The Spurs were down by 16 points and went on a run to force overtime.

The two sides battled as overtime progressed and one wasn’t enough. The Spurs took a six point lead in the double overtime period, but the Warriors took the lead off of a go-ahead fast break bucket from Kent Bazemore.

There were only 3.6 seconds left on the clock but that was more than enough time for Greg Poppovich to come up with something. They used some simple misdirection to cause a defensive lapse on the Warriors part. The lack of communication on this play is baffling in a playoff setting but this is how you end up with a wide open three to win the game.

Take a look at the play here.

The Spurs used Ginobili as a screener for Tony Parker curling to the top from the baseline. The Warriors knew that they were going to switch all screens ahead of time.

The five locations of the Warriors players at the start of the play are listed as follows:

  • Stephen Curry is smothering Danny Green in the right corner
  • Kent Bazemore starts off on Manu Ginobili on the elbow
  • Harrison Barnes is guarding Tony Parker on the baseline
  • Richard Jefferson is (kind of) guarding the Kawhi Leonard on the inbound
  • Jarrett Jack is covering Boris Diaw at the very top of the arch

There were so many defensive breakdowns for the Warriors here. Take a look at this screenshot below:


What is Richard Jefferson defending here? Normally on inbounding plays there is a decision made by a player to either defend the ball or give help on a player. Here, Jefferson isn’t defending anything and he isn’t detering Kawhi Leonard from making a pass. He’s just standing around watching everyone else move.

Had he chosen a spot on the floor to defend and stuck to that instead of just floating in space, it wouldn’t have been such awful defense. This is inexcusable coming after a timeout and will kill you in the playoffs–especially against the Spurs.

Diaw was supposed to set a screen for Parker in the play but he slipped it instead. The Warriors were anticipating a screen from Diaw for Parker at the top after he ran through the Ginobili screen. Take a look:

Diaw slip

There was a clear disconnect between Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes on who should stick to Parker at the top. Jack was involved in a miscommunication along the baseline with Curry as well where a baseline screen wasn’t switched and that allowed the game to get into overtime.

Because there are two defenders stuck on Tony Parker at the top, Manu Ginobili gets a wide open look from the three point line:


It’s simple miscommunications and small mistakes like these that get you knocked out of the Playoffs. The Warriors are a young team and will learn, but they allowed the game to slip out of their hands because of things that aren’t very hard to fix.

We’ll see how much attention the Warriors give the little details in game 2.


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