Ginobili returns to make Spurs contenders
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO — There was plenty of youthful Ginobili blood inside the San Antonio Spurs locker room on Sunday afternoon, but none of it belonged to the man who may have changed the landscape of the NBA playoffs in just one game.
Manu Ginobili, the 35-year-old super sub for the San Antonio Spurs whose 18-point outing had everything to do with his team’s 1-0 series lead on the Los Angeles Lakers, played gleefully with his 2-year-old twin boys after discussing his exploits with a news media corps that had been writing these Spurs off yet again. Ginobili has had plenty of time with his kids of late, what with the hamstring injury that forced him to miss nine of the last 10 games and had so much to do with San Antonio’s lackluster finish to the season (dropping 10 of their last 20 games).
But he did what he has done for more than a decade now in the Spurs’ 91-79 win, needing 19 minutes in all to not only give the Spurs the early edge, but also make the masses wonder what it means from here. If he can keep this up, then that Spurs’ formula that’s soaked in formaldehyde — a little Tim Duncan, some Tony Parker and well-timed doses of Ginobili — may be good enough to turn the Western Conference into a wide-open race again.
“That’s what he does,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s good at it. Obviously (he was) three of five from three (point range). Even in the first half, I thought he kept them ahead of us.
“So, yeah, he’s a big (part). The three guys, it’s only been like 15 years they’ve been doing this. They’re good. And like I said, give them credit. But at the same time, we’ll see Wednesday (in Game 2).”
The evidence of Ginobili’s season builds a case for this being an aberration. After all, he scored 18 or more points only 12 … [For more on Manu Ginobili returns to make Spurs title contenders, click here.]