Manu Ginobili scores 24 points in surprise start, Spurs beat Heat 114-104 to take series lead

  • Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 17, 2013 - 5:56 AM

SAN ANTONIO — Across three NBA championships and more than 100 playoff victories together, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have built a bond most teammates will never share.

So maybe Ginobili could ignore it when he was suddenly being criticized around San Antonio.

You better believe it bothered the others.

"Yeah, of course," Parker said. "Because for everything he did for the franchise, I thought it was a little bit too harsh. We understand it's a business. He came out big tonight."

Just like Parker said he would.

Ginobili broke out of a slump in a big way with 24 points and 10 assists in his first start of the season, and the Spurs beat the Miami Heat 114-104 on Sunday night to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.

Parker scored 26 points, Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Ginobili had his highest-scoring game of the season as the Spurs became the first team to shoot 60 percent in a finals game in four years.

"He's such a huge part of what we do and how far we've come. You can see it tonight in how we played and the results of the game," Duncan said. "We're always confident in him. ... We know he has it in him. We hope he can bring it forward for one more win."

Danny Green smashed the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers, hitting six more and scoring 24 points. Kawhi Leonard finished with 16, but the stage was set when Ginobili trotted out with Duncan, Parker and the rest of starters in what could have been the last finals home game for a trio that's meant so much to San Antonio.

One more victory and the Spurs' Big Three, not Miami's, will be the one that rules the NBA.

And a big reason was Ginobili, as he's been for so long — just not during what had been a miserable series for the former Sixth Man of the Year.

"I was angry, disappointed," Ginobili said. "We are playing in the NBA Finals, we were 2-2, and I felt I still wasn't really helping the team that much," Ginobili said. "And that was the frustrating part."

On Sunday, it was all forgotten.

"He's obviously very popular. He's been here a long time. He's helped us have a lot of success over the years," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points for the Heat, who host Game 6 on Tuesday night. They need a victory to force the first Game 7 in the finals since the Lakers beat the Celtics in 2010.

Miami's Big Three formed a few weeks after that game, with predictions of multiple titles to follow. Now they're a loss away from going just 1 for 3 in finals to start their partnership, while the Spurs could run their perfect record to 5 for 5.

"This is the position we're in and the most important game is Game 6," James said. "We can't worry about a Game 7, we have to worry about Game 6."

Duncan won his first title in 1999, and Parker and Ginobili were with him for three championships since. They have been the perfect partnership, keeping the Spurs in the hunt virtually every year while teams such as the Lakers, Mavericks and Suns have all risen and fallen in the Western Conference during that time.

They remained unbeaten in Game 5s, including two previous victories when the series was tied at 2-2. Of the 27 times the finals have been tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner has won 20 of them.

Miami was the most recent loser, falling to Dallas in Game 5 in 2011 before being eliminated at home the next game.

"We're going to see if we're a better ballclub and if we're better prepared for this moment," Wade said.

San Antonio shot 42 of 70, right at 60 percent. The last team to make 60 percent of its shots in the finals was Orlando, which hit 62.5 in Game 3 against the Lakers in 2009, according to STATS.

"They just absolutely outplayed us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "At times they were just picking one guy out at a time and going at us mano y mano. That will change."

Ray Allen scored 21 points on the night for the Heat as he watched Green shatter his finals 3-point record. Green has 25 3s in the series. Allen made 22 3-pointers in six games in the 2008 finals for Boston.

Chris Bosh scored 16 points for Miami, Wade had 10 assists, and James had eight assists and six rebounds, but it was their defense that let the Heat down in this one.

The Heat were within one with 3:05 left in the third quarter before Green hit yet another 3-pointer and Ginobili followed with the stretch that turned the game into the fourth straight blowout of the finals.

The crafty lefty plays with a flair developed on the courts of Argentina and perfected in Europe before coming to the NBA. He sees angles other players can't and takes risks few others would, but his style has been the perfect fit alongside Duncan and Parker.

He converted a three-point play, tossed in a floater with his left hand as he drifted right, and found Tiago Splitter under the hoop with a pass to make it 85-74.

He flipped in another runner with 2.9 seconds to go in the period, sending the Spurs to the fourth with an 87-75 lead as fans chanted "Manu! Manu!" during the break between the third and fourth quarters.

Ginobili had been averaging just 7.5 points on 34.5 percent shooting in the series, making only three of his 16 3-point attempts. But Popovich made the finals' second lineup change in two games, after the Heat inserted Mike Miller to start Game 4.

Ginobili didn't make a start this season and certainly hadn't been playing like someone who belonged with the first five. But in the Spurs' biggest game of the season, they remained confident he would break out, and they were right.

"I knew that I was not scoring much and I felt it in the air. But I tried not to care about it. I know I'm critical enough of myself to be worrying about what other people say," Ginobili said.

It was the first time he scored 24 or more points since having 34 on June 4, 2012, against Oklahoma City, according to STATS.

The AT&T Center crowd roared when Ginobili was the last starter announced, the cheers growing louder when he made a jumper — originally ruled a 3-pointer but later overturned by replay — on the first possession. He assisted on the Spurs' next three baskets, and it was 15-10 when he later hit a 3 that did count.

Parker picked it up from there, dancing his way into the lane repeatedly and scoring seven points in a 12-0 run that made it 29-17.

Leonard's 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left, on an assist from Ginobili, made it 32-19 and gave the Spurs 12 makes in 19 attempts (63 percent) in the opening 12 minutes.

Green's third straight 3-pointer made it 45-28 about 5 minutes into the second quarter, and it seemed the trend of blowouts would continue.

But James suddenly got rolling during a 14-2 Miami spurt that cut it to five on his third consecutive Heat basket.

San Antonio made 21 of 34 shots (62 percent) in the first half, opening a 61-52 lead on Parker's drive with 0.4 seconds left.

Miami then ran off eight in a row to start the second half and get within one. They cut it to one again later in the period before Ginobili led the flurry that finished the Heat for good.

It was a fitting finish if it was the last home game in the finals for San Antonio's star trio, which has combined for 101 playoff victories. Ginobili has said he might think about retirement as he turns 36 next month, and Duncan is 37.

Both coaches said it was difficult waiting two days between games — Popovich said it was "like death" — though he did say it was great for the Spurs because they have some older players.

The break seemed to help his team early, particularly Parker, whose energy sagged in the second half of Game 4 as he struggled with a strained hamstring that he said could tear at any time and would've had him sidelined during the regular season.

If things fall right for the Spurs, he'll have plenty of time to heal after Tuesday.

Notes: The last team to lose Game 5 of a 2-2 series and then win the title was the Los Angeles Lakers, when they beat Boston in 2010. ... The Spurs said Sunday that reserve guard Patty Mills had surgery to remove an abscess Friday and would miss the rest of the series. Mills had an infection in his right foot and the abscess developed between his fourth and fifth toes.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close