San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili didn’t have a Manu-esque performance in the series versus the Trail Blazers.
After averaging 17.7 points and 45 percent shooting in the series against Dallas, Manu saw his production drop to 8.5 points and 26 percent shooting versus Portland. All-in-all, Manu simply couldn’t get his shot to fall in five game against Portland and the Spurs will definitely need him to raise his game in the Western Conference Finals.
Something he is well aware of.
In his column in the Argentinian site La Nacion, Manu made it clear – he is looking to turn things around versus Oklahoma City.
I thought I played much better in the series against Dallas, especially shooting. Against Portland I could not get a shot to fall. I couldn’t knock things down in the series but I thought I played well. Playing bad is what I did in Game 6 against Dallas. Against Portland I helped, that I did what I was asked to do. When your shots are going in you feel better and everything looks better. I hope to turn things around in this series. It will be more challenging, more physical, and because of that it will be very important to score.
In three games versus the Thunder this past regular season, Manu averaged 11 points, 3.3 assists, and 39 percent shooting. San Antonio will need this and more if they want a shot at a return trip to the NBA Finals and avoid being eliminated by the Thunder again like in 2012.
To do that we have to beat Oklahoma City, a tremendous team. They are intense and athletic. They defend very well and have Durant, that, when both teams have everything figured out, he can win a game or turn a game around all on his own. If both teams do the tactical part right and keep the intensity, a player with that kind of talent, like LeBron in Miami, Kobe back in the day, or Jordan years ago, can be the winning factor in a game. That’s what makes them different. On top of that, the Oklahoma City roster is deep, has length, and is younger. They play good defense, and now they’ll play with more intensity than they did in the first two rounds, against Memphis and Clippers.
And now with the news OKC’s Serge Ibaka will be out for the rest of the postseason, this will open the paint just a bit more for Ginobili once he gets into the teeth of the Thunder interior defense.
Besides, it will take the full “Big 3″ of the Spurs to not only get past OKC but take on Indiana or Miami at full strength.