The San Antonio Spurs improved to 20-5 on the season by defeating a feisty Phoenix Suns team 108-101 Wednesday night. The Spurs were without star point guard Tony Parker, who is out with a bruised shin, and were facing a Suns team that has continued to play surprisingly well. The Suns are now 14-10 on the year and have played very well against the NBA‘s elite. Without Parker, this game was hardly a gimme for the Spurs.
Manu Ginobili entered the night knowing he would have to step up, and that’s exactly what he did. The Argentinean was a force to be reckoned with as he finished with a line of 24 points, six rebounds, and seven assists in 27 minutes. With the Spurs missing their floor general in Parker, Ginobili served as the creator for the Spurs on offense. Even more impressive was what Ginobili did in crunch time. With the game was tied at 95-95 late in the fourth quarter and the Spurs desperate for offense, Ginobili connected on his only three of the game to give the Spurs the 98-95 lead, one which they never relinquished. Ginobili scored 13 points overall in the fourth as the Spurs managed to secure the victory.
All of this is to say that Ginobili is still far from washed up. He had more than his fair share of pundits and doubters after an overall poor showing in last year’s NBA finals. Many called for him to retire, others called him “washed up”, and few thought we would ever see the Manu Ginobili of old. But with performances like these and solid overall play so far this season, Ginobili is proving them all wrong. On the year Ginobili has been one of the best sixth men in the league, averaging 11.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds on 48 percent shooting in only 23 minutes. For comparison’s sake, that puts Ginobili at 22.9 points, 9.6 assists, and 7.6 rebounds per 48 minutes. So yeah, he’s hardly done.
Ginobili is a integral part of the Spurs’ success, and granted he continues to stay healthy he will play a key role in their title hopes. For those who doubted him, I’d suggest not being so quick to jump to conclusions about how “done” a player of Ginobili’s caliber is. Instead, sit back and enjoy the ride.