May 25, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) celebrates with center Time Duncan (21) after an overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. San Antonio defeated Memphis 104-93. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA Finals are set to kick off Thursday as the San Antonio Spurs are taking their talents to South Beach for Games one and two against the defending champions, Miami Heat. There are many that are ruling the Spurs out, but hell, they are used to playing under the radar, so this is nothing new.
Manu Ginobili, the fearless competitor he is can’t wait for the finals to get begin and he is gearing up for that. A true fan favorite in the Alamo-City, the excitement of Ginobili takes center stage when Gregg Popovich points over to the bench, usually midway through the first quarter.
May 25, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) have a discussion in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. San Antonio Spurs defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93, and lead the series 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Of course, the anticipation is ambiguous because no one knows what the San Antonio Spurs’ veteran guard will do once he gets on the court.
He could miss a wild 3-point attempt, the way he did in the second overtime against Golden State in this season’s playoffs. Or he could do something big in the clutch, such as hitting a 3-pointer a short time later to win that same game.
Whatever it antics or shots he does put up, it surely is turning the heads of teammates, especially one Tim Duncan, who stated with KSAT 12 that everything Ginobili does amazes him.
“It’s what you live with with Manu,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “Does it amaze me? Everything he does amazes me — his good stuff, his bad stuff. It’s what you learn to live with with him.
“He’s someone that gives us so much of a different face. People can’t plan for what he does. We’re well-coached when we execute well, but you can’t prepare for what Manu does, and that’s one thing that makes us a better team.”
Duncan pretty much stated what many in San Antonio have accepted from Ginobili. It is his style of play, Popovich knows it, and so does his teammates. It is what makes Ginobili, Ginobili. And that is one reason that he has felt so ‘at home’ in San Antonio.
He also spoke with KSAT 12 and stated that he was not sure how he and the city connected with one-another but it is something that he loves and is thankful for every day.
“I don’t know how we connected at first,” the Argentine said. “I just know that they kind of adopted me from the first minute I got here. Maybe it’s my Latin roots, Spanish speaking, or maybe it’s my type of game. I guess it was a little bit of everything.
“But it really helped me, especially early in my career. Now I’m a developed player, I’ve been everywhere and now I’m more used to it. But at the beginning, when I had so many doubts, I was the new guy in the NBA, the uncertainties and all that, having 18,000 people supporting me and cheering you up was a big help.”
As for Coach Popovich on Ginobili:
“He’s just hell-bent for leather, absolutely all-out,” Popovich said. “He plays with a ferocity at both ends of the court that’s very unique. Coaches love that stuff.”
And so does the city of San Antonio.