The San Antonio Spurs led wire to wire in their Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat. An insertion of Manu Ginobili to the starting lineup, Danny Green continuing his ridiculous shooting, and balanced scoring from the entire team led them to the win. Here are a few thoughts on Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, and the way this series has gone so far.
1. Welcome To the Finals Manu: In my Game 4 thoughts, I got on Manu Ginobili for disappearing like James Harden did last year. In the biggest game of the season to this point, Gregg Popovich made the move to start Ginobili. It turned out to be a stroke of genius. Ginobili looked like he found the “Hot Tub Time Machine” Dwyane Wade used before Game 4 and came out aggressive from the opening tip. He knocked down threes, slashed to the basket for layups, and kicked it out to teammates for open shots when the layups were not available. He looked liked the Ginobili that has helped the Spurs win three championships since he has been in San Antonio.
It was an impressive performance from a guy who spent time in between Game 4 and 5 discussing retirement at length with reporters. The stories about him considering retirement and his play throughout the entire playoffs led me to believe that coach Pop would have a shorter leash on Manu than normal in Game 5. I felt he should give more time to Gary Neal, who has been playing with confidence. Thankfully for the Spurs and their fans, I am not the coach. Pop’s move to start Ginobili looked genius. He was engaged early and played with a sense of urgency that carried over to the whole team. His play opened things up for the rest of the team and led to a balanced night for the Spurs. Should the Game 5 Manu travel to Miami, this series may end on Tuesday night. Let’s see if he can keep it up.
2. The Green Light- Danny Green, NBA Finals MVP, was something that no one on the planet, Danny Green’s family included, thought would be a possibility entering the Finals. At this point however, no one on the planet will be shocked if it does happen. In Game 5, much to the chagrin of Ray Allen, he broke the record for the most three pointers made in the NBA Finals. He is shooting an absurd, unconscious, downright sick, 25/38 from the three point line. He is on a run of shooting on the biggest stage in the sport that has never been seen. He’s knocking down shots with defenders draped all over him and converting the wide open shots that are a result of the Heat trying to contain Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili. It has been a pleasure to watch this shooting display. In Game 6, the Heat better find him early in the game, and make it difficult for him to get his shot off.
3. Unpredictably Predictable- Prior to the Heat knocking off the Pacers, my boy Larry asked on Facebook who everyone thought would win if the Heat met the Spurs, and in how many games. My answer was the Spurs in six games. My thought was that the Spurs would get one of the first two games in Miami. Then, in San Antonio, the Heat would get at least one game. Finally, the Spurs would finish it in the sixth game back in Miami. It was a thought that was met with shock, awe, and disgust by a lot of my friends, but is a game away from coming true. So, to that point it has been predictable for me.
The unpredictable portion of this point comes in how the games have been won. Excluding the Spurs four point win in Game 1, the margins of victory have been 19, 36, 16, and 10 points. The games have all been interesting despite the double digit margins for final scores. This was a series that many expected to see the games come down to the last two minutes. Shockingly, that has not happened. To add to the unpredictable nature of the series, neither team can seem to string back-to-back wins together. Both teams have shown they are capable of running off wins throughout this season and during the playoffs. Against each other however, that has been a tough proposition. Here’s hoping for the sake of my prediction, that the Spurs can change that trend on Tuesday night.
There you have my thoughts on Game 5. As the scene shifts to Miami, it will be interesting to see if the Spurs can close the show. They are a team that is not afraid of playing on the road, and I believe will throw everything they have at the Heat in order to end things in Game 6. The Heat need to play with the Game 4 intensity all the way through, or the Spurs will end this NBA season and send the Heat into the offseason with loads of questions. It will be fun to see how it plays out.