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Ginobili’s rare start for Spurs in Game 5
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 16, 2013 @ 9:02 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
There goes Gregg Popovich, digging in his deep bag of tricks again.
The San Antonio Spurs coach gave sixth man Manu Ginobili his first start of the entire season Sunday in Game 5 of the NBA Finals vs. the Miami Heat. The move comes after Ginobili discussed retirement Saturday, meaning there’s at least a chance this will be his final game in San Antonio.
But it also comes as Ginobili has struggled in the Finals. He shot 10-for-29 in the first four games but came out firing, nailing a jump shot on the first possession. The shot initially was ruled a three-pointer, but a review later changed it to a two.
Ginobili finished the first quarter with seven points and four assists, his best quarter in a while. Splitter didn’t get in until late in the first quarter, replacing Tim Duncan with 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining.
The move makes sense, as Ginobili replaced forward Tiago Splitter to give the Spurs a smaller lineup. The Heat went smaller to start Game 4 and opened up the court with more shooters available.
Popovich used a similar strategy in the 2012 Western Conference finals, starting Ginobili for the final two games of that series. Ginobili played well, particularly in Game 5 when he had 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but the Oklahoma City Thunder won both games to beat the Spurs 4-2.
Still, Ginobili hasn’t started since, coming off the bench 78 times this season and postseason as his production declined because of age and injury.
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