What’s the matter with Manu?
Manu Ginobili isn’t scoring. His game is now careless instead of famously creative. In the NBA Finals, after the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade delivered a forceful reminder in Game 4 about stars deciding this series, the San Antonio Spurs still are waiting on one of their biggest to step up.
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 yesterday. “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.”
San Antonio’s prospects of winning a fifth title might hinge on Ginobili getting it together.
He scored five points in 26 minutes in a 109-93 loss on Thursday night that knotted the series at 2-2 heading into San Antonio’s final home game on Sunday. He’s shooting just 34 percent from the field in the series and averaging 7.5 points, down from his 11.8 average during the season.
Overall, Ginobili has shot 38 percent in the playoffs, a career low. It got so bad in Game 4 that even the Baseline Bums, a boisterous section of Spurs die-hard fans in the AT&T Center, yelled for him to quit taking shots.
Ginobili seems to be getting fed up, too. He looked bothered by questions about his persistent struggles after shooting 1 of 5 and tying his third-lowest scoring game in 21 career Finals appearances.
He also scored only five points in Game 2.
“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’ve 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’m asked to do.”
Putting a finger on what Ginobili does has always been tough to define — a quality that has made him one of the NBA’s most entertaining players the past 11 years. At his most dazzling. he’s a fearless attacker, game-winning marksman, uncanny improviser and a master of shots that defy belief.
But he also is six weeks away from turning 36.
“He’s going to get himself going or he won’t,” Popovich said. “He knows that he has to play better for us to be successful.”
Bosh fined for flop
Heat forward Chris Bosh was fined $5,000 for flopping during Game 4.
The play happened midway through the second quarter with the Heat leading 41-32. Bosh was trailing Spurs forward Tim Duncan as the two headed back down court when Duncan established post position in the paint. As Spurs guard Gary Neal approached with the dribble, Duncan posted up a late-arriving Bosh to try to seal him away from the play. Bosh flailed his arms and fell to the floor.
Duncan was whistled for a foul on the play, which wiped away a layup for Neal.