It has been a back and forth affair through the first four games of the 2013 NBA Finals and as the San Antonio Spurs prepare to play host for the final time this season in Game 5, one can only wonder, where has Manu Ginobili been?
So much criticism goes into the Miami Heat and their “Big Three” when things don’t go as expected. The scrutiny that LeBron James has taken doesn’t even match the disappointment that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have dealt with throughout the Heat’s current playoff run. Well, James, Wade and Bosh shut the critics down on Thursday with an untouchable statement in Game 4, scoring 85 combined in comparison to the 93 that San Antonio totaled as a team.
Now, the criticism shifts back to San Antonio. Tony Parker has been playing great and Tim Duncan has been solid as usual, but where is the team’s third wheel in Ginobili? In hindsight ironically enough, the team’s third wheel has been Danny Green or Gary Neal or even Kawhi Leonard. That’s just the way the numbers have stacked up. Ginobili has been invisible since scoring 13 points in the team’s Game 1 victory last week.
Ginobili deserves the brunt of the criticism here because even despite his age, he is expected to provide consistency. That hasn’t happened. Ginobili has totaled 30 points here in the NBA Finals and just 17 over the course of Games 2, 3 and 4. That’s an average of less than six per game in the past three collectively. Ginobili can be Mr. X-Factor at any time, but he needs to find that rhythm early and often on Sunday night.
Time to step up — especially considering that Ginobili will be entering free agency later this summer.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS