Manu Ginobili is better than you (Spurs 97 – Mavs 95)


The first thing I’m doing is getting a picture. As the saying goes on the internet, “pics or it didn’t happen.” It was that kind of moment, in the third quarter when Manu Ginobili straight up boomed one on DeSagana Diop and Josh Howard at the same time. As I write this, mere moments after the final buzzer went off on the game, the shot of the Mavericks getting demoralized at the rim isn’t exactly out on circulation. First chance I get, this post is getting an edit.
The game was close throughout, with a total of six lead changes and six ties. Tim Duncan was sidelined with that sprained ankle and bruised knee suffered against Portland, you know, the injury that had most of Spurs nation lamenting in anguish and despair. While Duncan’s presence is always missed, it turns out the silver and black did just fine without him.
Worth noting, however, is that in Duncan’s absence Tony Parker did look like he was forcing his offense on more than one occasion. While we’ve all come to expect Parker to be relentless (at times reckless) going to the basket, I was a little concerned at his ill choice of jump shots tonight. He was good for 23 points, but only shot 9-22 from the field. It’s hard to tell if these misses were from impatience or fatigue, but regardless it was evident not having Duncan on the floor had some effect on Parker’s game.
Thankfully Manu Ginobili was going bonkers most of the game, including 16 points in the third quarter alone. He finished with 37 total on the night, and handful of big plays, aforementioned already was that posterization of Diop and Howard.
As for how the Spurs’ bigs performed in the absence of Tim Duncan. Robert Horry, in six minutes of play, managed as many points and rebound as I did. Seriously. Now granted, I shouldn’t pick on Horry who’s just getting back to action. And while the other bigs did actually manage to get into the boxscore somehow, no one did anything particularly note worthy, which is disappointing as you would expect somebody to step up and fill that need in the paint with Duncan out.
On the Mavs side Josh Howard led the way in scoring with 22, adding on 9 rebounds to go with it. Brandon Bass had a big game off the bench with 18 points and 6 boards. The 6-8 rookie from LSU showed nice tough on his jumper and good knack for scoring. If this kid wasn’t on your radar before, he should be now. He’s impressive.
Devin Harris struggled, managing only 4 points on 2-11 shooting. At one point it looked like Bruce Bowen was going to swallow him whole on defense. I’ve longed considered Harris the X-factor for Dallas, the not always consistent variable that can make or break the game for the Mavs. When he’s kept off balance and out of rhythm like he was tonight Dallas is going to struggle.
Lastly, if you missed the game and you’re wondering how the final moments of this close game went down, let me give you the ultra condensed version. Two seconds left with the Spurs up two point. The Mavs struggle to get the ball inbounds until finally Dirk Nowitzki gets the ball wide open in the corner – behind the three point line. My initial thought, this is not good.
Then I remembered, this is Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk doesn’t make big shots, he misses them.
97-95. Spurs win.