Before the San Antonio Spurs fell 120-108 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the AT&T Center on Friday, I asked head coach Vinny Del Negro about what the return on Manu Ginobili meant to the Spurs.
“Well he causes a ton of problems,” Del Negro said, “you know Manu is so difficult off the dribble in the open courts.”
“Relentless, obviously Tony’s having a tremendous year for them, but Manu just gives them another tremendous threat to go to when they need to.”
Ginobili did what he could by leading the Spurs with 22 points and six assists, but it still wasn’t enough to prevent the Spurs from losing.
After the game, Del Negro spoke about how much guidance Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has given him over the years he’s been coaching.
“We talk a lot, you know he’s a mentor, just a guy that I bounce things off of,” said Del Negro, “he’s been very supportive.”
“You want to pick the brains of successful people. He’s been very supportive of not only me, but all his former players that are now head coaches.”
I also spoke with Clippers point guard Paul about whether he came into Friday’s game with an kind of fire after he was responsible for turning the ball over in Los Angeles against the Spurs during their Rodeo Road Trip, where the Spurs defeated the Clippers in overtime.
“Yeah we should have won that game,” Paul told me, “it was more about this road trip, and ending it on a good note.”
“We know we lost the last game, but we gave it away. That one’s in the past.”