SAN ANTONIO – What’s the matter with Manu?
Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs isn’t scoring. His game seems careless instead of famously creative. In these NBA Finals, where LeBron James and Dwyane Wade just delivered a forceful reminder in Game 4 about stars deciding this best-of-seven series, the Spurs are still waiting on one of their biggest.
The impatience is starting to show.
“He’s having a tough playoffs, and hasn’t really found a rhythm or found his game yet,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Friday. “I think that he’s obviously not as confident as usual, and he knows full well he hasn’t performed the way he would like and the way he’s used to. But it’s simplistic to say, ‘What are we going to do to get him going?’ ”
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Ginobili, 35, scored five points in 26 minutes in a 109-93 loss Thursday night, knotting the series heading into San Antonio’s final home game Sunday. He is shooting a mere 34 percent against the Heat and is averaging 7.5 points, down from his 11.8 scoring average during the season.
Ginobili has shot 38 percent in the playoffs, a career worst. He has missed 10 of his last 11 three-point attempts.
“It’s not that I’ve scored 30 a game this year,” Ginobili said. “I’m surprised. I wish I could score more. But it’s not happening. I got to try to do other stuff. I’ve got to move the ball. If the shot is not falling, I’ve got to be sharp feeding the bigs and finding the shooters. I don’t have to force the issue. That’s not what I do. That’s not what I’m asked to do.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on Friday downplayed the effect the Miami defense has had on Ginobili, saying it occasionally has come down to him missing some shots he normally makes. But Ginobili’s game has never been predicated on jump shots.
“We’ve always looked at him very similar to our guy, to Dwyane,” Spoelstra said. “And what makes him probably most dangerous is the unpredictability, his ability to be aggressive and do things on the court that aren’t necessarily scripted.”
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