During the San Antonio Spurs' title chase in the 2013 NBA Finals, Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass will be contributing to Project Spurs.
At first glance, it seemed foolish of Coach Gregg Popovich that he would start Manu Ginobili. After all, the "small ball" line-up seemed to play into Miami's hands. While others charged that the move really reeked of desperation, it is the NBA Finals and you have to pull out all the stops here. And, boy, did Manu pull out all the stops.
It seemed more than just a countermove to Miami's starting line-up that had included Mike Miller in the last two games. And when Tiago Splitter was taking on Dwyane Wade in the perimeter, a change had to be made (remember Game 4 when Gary Neal got in the game early after Miami exploited that match-up). Ginobili had been in a bad slump; he's shot less than 40 percent in the postseason and had only scored 17 total points in the previous three games. This move was basically to get Ginobili warm from the start.
And it worked. Not only did it benefit Ginobili but it definitely got the entire team going, including Tony Parker. Manu handled the ball early and often, doing most of the point guard work for the team. Parker would either receive the ball later on and penetrate or work off the ball instead of handling it for nearly the entire play. It saved Parker (who didn't look so injured in Game 5) some energy and got Ginobili's engine going.
Manu looked like the Manu of old. He gained more confidence as the game went on, doing those herky-jerky moves that only Manu could do and making those passes with precision that he had been doing for years. Overall, Ginobili shot 8 for 14 and ended up with 24 points and 10 assists. Safe to say that it was a great decision to start Ginobili.
You can bet Miami will try to counter in Game 6 with their own defensive wrinkle. But if the San Antonio Spurs have Parker, Danny Green, Tim Duncan, and now Manu clicking on the offensive end, you might as well put the Spurs' name on that Larry O'Brien Trophy.