Whenever it seems like momentum has changed and one team is the driver’s seat in the series, the momentum promptly swings to the other team. Game-by-game, quarter-by-quarter, it’s been a hard series to predict what’s going to happen next.
However, one of the things that has been constant, surprising as it may be, is the lack of contribution from Spurs super-sixth-man Manu Ginobili. For years, Ginobili has comprised the third leg of the tripod in San Antonio with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, but that hasn’t been the case in this series.
Through the first four games of the Finals, Ginobili is playing 24.2 minutes per game and is averaging only 7.5 points, three assists, 1.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game while turning the ball over 1.8 times per game. To make matters worse, he’s shooting just 34.5 percent from the field and only 18.8 percent from long range. Undoubtedly, he has had a rough go of it thus far.
The most troubling thing about Ginobili’s play in this series is the fact that it doesn’t even look like he’s just not making shots. In short, Ginobili simply looks like he’s not the player that he used to be. His always quick first step isn’t quick anymore. His precision isn’t consistently there, nor is his ability to knock down threes off of kick-outs.
Just about the only positive thing that he’s been able to do is make a few amazing passes here and there, but that’s not enough.
Going forward in this series, it’s clear that Parker isn’t 100 percent after injuring his leg in Game 3 and there’s no telling whether or not he will be able to return to full health in the Finals. Luckily for the Spurs, Danny Green and Gary Neal have had the series of their lives so far, which hasn’t made Ginobili’s lack of production exceptionally glaring.
However, banking on Green and Neal to continue this type of play is foolish; it would be a miracle if they didn’t regress sooner rather than later.
The Spurs need production out of their role players if they want to take control of this series in Game 5 and not go back to Miami down 3-2 in the series. With Duncan not playing great, Parker hobbled and Green and Neal almost certainly not being able to continue playing like they have, San Antonio needs Ginobili, even for just one game, to dig deep down and deliver a throwback performance.
If he’s unable to find an extra gear in game 5, it could be the beginning of the end for the Spurs in these Finals.