I’m looking at the end of the third quarter, specifically, where Manu Ginobili took over and delivered two successive blows to the Utah Jazz’ collective psyche. (Editor’s note: Unfortunately, I don’t have any video. I know, I’m a disgrace.)
The first play happened with about two minutes to play in the third quarter. Gary Neal brought up the ball near the right side of the floor. Ginobili, who began his run from the right block, flashed out to the top of the key to receive the pass from Neal. After a brief delay, Tiago Splitter came to set a screen on Alec Burks, guarding Manu on the play. Long story short, Burks went under the screen and Ginobili had ample space to drain the 3-pointer. Spurs up seven, with 1:42 remaining.
On the next possession, following a Burks miss from behind the arc, the Spurs ran another pick-and-roll set with Manu and Splitter. This time, Burks got caught on a technically sound screen and Al Jefferson was in no position to help on Manu. With no help in sight, Jamaal Tinsley was forced to help on Manu’s impending foray to the hoop. Knowing this, Manu drew Tinsley and delivered a perfect pass to Stephen Jackson on the perimeter.
Jack had a decent look at a 3-pointer but he quickly — like, seriously, he didn’t look he even thought of taking the shot — to an even more open Gary Neal, comfortably situated in the corner. Neal had a decent look at a 3-pointer but a well-timed up fake drew DeMarre Carroll and Tinsley out of the play. Neal took a couple of dribbles to improve his passing angle before he delivered the ball to Matt Bonner across the court.
The skip pass drew in Paul Millsap on the rotation. Millsap made a nice effort but the Spurs’ ball movement had already won. Millsap was forced to guard two capable shooters on the perimeter that were spaced properly. Bonner, sensing that Millsap was closing in, dropped a bounce pass to a wide-open Manu Ginobili in the corner. And …
Splash. Another Spurs 3-pointer. And, although Utah made it interesting with a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter, Manu’s two consecutive shots proved to be daggers in the Utah Jazz’ side.