2013 NBA Finals: Manu Ginobili Must Step Up for San Antonio Spurs to Win Title

By Ryan Heckman


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As the San Antonio Spurs get set to host their final game at home Sunday, they are in desperate need of a win in order to keep this series alive. The Miami Heat have responded well after each loss so far, and San Antonio did the same after their game two defeat. What will be the deciding factor for the Spurs in game five?

The Spurs are of course aging, and need all the rest between games they can get. Point guard Tony Parker is dealing with a hamstring injury and he is unclear what his injury’s status will be – but he intends to play regardless.

Manu Ginobili has been very disappointing so far, to say the least. The Spurs knew what they’d get from Parker and Tim Duncan. Ginobili, on the other hand, has been wildly inconsistent throughout the playoffs. In the finals, he is averaging just 7.5 points per game on 34.5 percent shooting. Disregarding all other stats, that is the one that matters the most at this point.

The Spurs will have no chance to win game five – let alone the series – if Ginobili doesn’t wake up and begin to play to his full potential. He’s getting older, a little slower but can still contribute at a higher level than what he’s shown so far.

He has the ability to get into the lane and to the hoop, but the fact is that he is not finishing the play. He’s had open opportunities outside the arc and missed them blatantly. At this point, he’s better off passing on those shots in favor of Gary Neal or Danny Green. Ginobili has hit some great shots at times during the playoffs, but the majority of his time on the court has been a disappointment.

I’ll put a number on it. I would say Ginobili just needs to give his team 15 points per game through the rest of the series. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but he would be in fact doubling his production so far. If the Spurs can get a solid 15 from him, I would bet they win the series. If not, they will be hard pressed to close it out.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for RantSports.com also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman  or add him to your network on Google.

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