2017 Playoff Hangover (Day 24): Manu Ginobili Gives Us a Throwback

This is the NBA Playoff Hangover. We’re going to recap all the important games and talk about the hijinks that went on during or after. Here ya go.

We finally got a GOOD game in the conference semifinals. In fact, it was a GREAT game.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Gay/AP.)

#3 HOUSTON ROCKETS 107 @ #2 SAN ANTONIO SPURS 110 [OT]
WEST Semifinals * Game 2 * SPURS lead the series, 3-2

The Rockets and Spurs tried to get their style to take over the game. It was the Rockets’ pace early but they were missing the shots which enabled San Antonio to lead by nine. But the threes eventually went in for Houston and they were able to get the game close.

While some of the Spurs struggled (LaMarcus Aldridge in general), Manu Ginobili was able to find his younger self and do this:

(VIDEO CREDIT: Ximo Pierto.)

That shocked everybody. Still, the Rockets led by two at the half.

The Rockets were able to get the Spurs to fall in love with the quick shots and Houston took advantage of the pace to lead by nine. San Antonio was able to cut into the lead but what was overlooked then was that Kawhi Leonard hurt his ankle on a defensive play. Still, the Spurs were able to come back and take the lead on a last-second Danny Green three. Green would do more later in the game.

Leonard tried to come back but wasn’t able to; he would sit out the final 10 minutes of the game. While we were still in the Rockets’ pace, they started missing on the threes again. Still, a big Eric Gordon three put them up five.

Patty Mills countered with a three of his own. The Spurs were able to get a stop before Aldridge tied it with a hook shot. After some James Harden free throws, Ginobili tied the game again with a lay-up. Harden turned the ball over with an offensive foul so the Spurs got one last shot at regulation. They never did as Mills released a banked three that went in after the buzzer. They went an extra five.

The Spurs bore down defensively and the Rockets would end up starting their offense late. As for the Spurs, they couldn’t convert anything. It took three minutes for either team to break the ice as Patrick Beverley made a corner three.

After two Jonathon Simmons foul shots, Harden turned the ball over. Green would make a huge three-pointer to give the Spurs the lead. Ryan Anderson countered with a three of his own before Green came back with a rare lay-up plus the foul. The converted three-point play gave the Spurs a two-point lead. GO, GREEN RANGER, GO…

Gordon missed the three on the ensuing possession. Green was fouled but he split the foul shots to give the Rockets one last chance to tie with 15.7 seconds left. On that possession, Gordon lost the ball as Mills tied him up for the jump ball with 9 seconds left. Rockets won the tip but Anderson and then Harden got trapped near the sideline. Harden was able to shake off Ginobili for a moment and attempted a three but Manu was able to get the clean swat to win the game for San Antonio. Quite the finish. It gave the Spurs fans so many emotions.

Was anyone surprised the Spurs won the game without Kawhi in the stretch? Not really; this has been their culture for years. One guy goes down and it’s the next man up. They probably can’t do this without Leonard for an entire series but they sure withstood it for Game 5. Leonard (22 points and 14 boards) mentioned he should be okay for Game 6.

Maybe the Rockets needed to play more than seven guys. Mike D’Antoni is known to be old-school and shorten his rotation in the postseason. But this seemed a bit much as guys like Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell didn’t play.

The Spurs played nine guys themselves but it was notable that Dejounte Murray didn’t play after starting the last two games. Mills (20 points) played the most time at 43 minutes. Simmons and Manu got most of the time for defense and craftiness. Aldridge struggled from the field but he had huge shots and rebounds at the most opportune times.

But what a game by Ginobili. That fresh dunk in the first half. That big three in the start of the fourth quarter. The lay-up that tied the game at the end of regulation. The assist to Green for a huge three. And the game-winning block. Manu had 12-7-5 and every play that he made was big.

We go back to Houston for Game 6. And once again, we finally got a close game. It’s only the second time in 17 conference semifinal games that we’ve had a single-digit margin of victory.

LINE CROSSER

Harden finished with:

33 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists.

He played so well but the Spurs’ defense really muddled things up for him at the end.

WATCH THIS PLAY

(VIDEO CREDIT: NBA.)

Let’s see that game-winning block by Manu Ginobili again.

Our thoughts are with you and your family, Patrick Beverley.


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