Deadball Manu

by

Manu Ginobili yells at his teammates more often than any other Spur. This is a good thing.

Nearly every recap of last night’s game is taking the same tact: Ginobili’s passion fueled the Spurs’ victory. “He’s a gamer,” they say.

This sounds right to me. Although, Manu Ginobili’s stat line might not lead one to this conclusion. Ginobili shot poorly from the field and line (5-13; 0-3; 7-13) and committed 5 turnovers, a few of which were cringe-worthy. On the positive side of the stat sheet, Ginobili produced a game high plus-16, came up with 4 steals, a block, and crashed the boards for 7 rebounds, every one of which was crucial against the glass-eating Grizzlies.

But this is entirely too two dimensional. Ginobili’s greatest contribution to the game may have come in deadball situations. He’s the Spurs’ most stentorious player. Vocal. Emotive. Freewheeling. Ginobili feeds himself in this way, and the Spurs feed off him. When Manu Ginobili is off the court, the world is flat.

For all the advance of advanced statistics, one still can not give a proper account of the positive effects of passion on performance. I’m not a fan of Kevin Garnett’s on-court behavior. But watching Ginobili, I know there is some virtue beneath Garnett’s barking. And I know Tony Allen’s contribution to the Grizzlies goes beyond what we see on the stat sheet. Allen plays with passion too. Memphis is fundamentally different without his swagger.

It comes down to this. Passion is a skill. Energy is a skill. Some kinds of crazy help. These things are hard to quantify, but they’re impossible to miss.

The Spurs live in cerebral tents. Calm. Controlled. Contemplative. They come a little unglued at the sound of whistles, but, in the main, they walk the line. This isn’t always good. Occasionally, when one is punched in the nose, it does no good to analyze the situation. It’s much better to simply, viscerally lob a few jabs the other direction. I’m glad Ginobili yells at his teammates. The Spurs play better with his added measure of scrap.

When Tim Duncan isn’t on the court, the Spurs lose a bit of their intellect. When Ginobili goes missing, the Spurs lose their heart.

Last night, the Spurs won on the strength of their heart.

  • NDSpursFan

    Great article Tim! Last night was a great example of how his emotion, energy and hustle on every play fuel the team. Hopefully he loses that brace soon so that he can get his shooting rhythm back. Go Spurs Go!

  • idahospur

    Even though Manu’s shooting may be restricted, he needs to keep that elbow brace on, at least through this series. I was worried every time I saw him hit the ground.

  • becauseheismanuginobili

    Oh yes. Seems like Manu’s vocal-ness is on the rise lately.There were a couple of plays by the spurs yesterday where the raw emotion/passion showed and we need more of that. It is contagious, I loved it when Blair showed emotion after a good play. RJ & Hill too…be great to see Tony have a great game in this series.

  • Martin

    Tim, I just don’t know if it was the must-win condition of the game or what, but watching Manu jumping around in one arm got me very emotional.

    Maybe is just the feeling that THIS IS the final ride for this team and the last chance to watch these magnificent warriors execute with passion.

    I was on the brink of tears of watching my fellow countryman doing what he does, as he was on a mission to win the game whatever it took.

    One word of caution for the League…watch out for Manu on two arms…”Because HE is Manu Ginobili”

  • Eljoel

    Great article! Spot on

  • Junierizzle

    Great article.
    I found it annoying that a lot of the analyst said even with Manu, there wouldn’t be a difference. Because they still won’t get any taller. But how tall do you have to be? Randolph doesn’t even jump. But that is going off topic.

    Of course there is a difference when Manu plays. It’s no wonder they are 0-3 without him this year. And 1-5 without him in the playoffs. I think Kenny Smith gave him the best compliment saying that MANU is a top 3 guard in the game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Add a weeks rest to it and he’s Manu Ginobili.

  • http://www.nba.com/spurs/?tmd=1 TheRealDirtyP1

    I just don’t see the passion out of the other players the way it comes thru Tim and Manu. I wish TP would pop off for a 30 point game, he just seems off balance right now. I dont’ care about Manu’s line, the fact that he was in there was the difference. I like what we’re seeing from RJ too.
    Where Manu helps most is the annoyance he has on defense. You just don’t see that from the other guards, at most maybe GH3 does.
    Game on.

  • Titletown99030507d

    When he’s healthy and mainly rested he’s a gamer nobody wants to get in front of. How bout that steal like Sean said “like taking candy from a kid”. Super Manu to the rescue. Be cautious though as he plays more and more minutes people would think he’s going to explode but the reality is he could get tired again like he did during the season and stink it up as a closer in a barn burner. Let’s watch his minutes so that he has that last push at the end of games.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I like the minutes Manu and Hill are getting. Maybe a few less for Manu so that he doesn’t wear out too fast. Tim’s not the only one who should be monitored. It’s a long playoff stretch for this team.

  • Junierizzle

    Yeah. Him getting tired is a concern. Just look at KOBE last night. I like how POP handled his minutes. Even when the game was close with about 5 mins left POP didn’t have him out there. I’m glad Game 3 isn’t until Saturday.
    Also we all know he shot more 3s this year. Some of it has to do with age but I think it was also by design. He didn’t burn his legs out in the regular season. Hopefully it will pay off in the playoffs.
    Skip Bayless from Espn brought up an interesting opinion. He said if MANU played in a big market or was an American player then Manu’s performance would be the top story.

  • http://torosnation.com Michael De Leon

    Completely agree with you Tim. I had never thought about that in terms of skill, but what he provides, especially in the form of passion and heart, is as important as what ends up on the stat sheet.

  • NL

    What happened with Manu and Tony Allen that prompted Manu to say something to him? Anyone know?

  • Greyberger

    Manu is key to the second unit. Without Ginobili it’s kind of a collection of misfit toys – Bonner and Blair in the frontcourt, Gary Neal not exactly helping the defensive problems there… but add special ingredient Manu and it all makes sense. With Manu you have two excellent perimeter defenders (the other is Hill) who can help out on taller players. And on offense he orchestrates it to put Hill, Bonner and Blair in the spots they can score from.

  • SAJKinBigD

    Arr-some Arr-ticle, Timmeh! :D Energy and Passion are skills, but they’re hard to learn – generally you either have ‘em or you don’t! Two days rest now for our guys! Should help us a lot more than Memphis.

    In addition to Manu and Timmy, I loved IndyG’s energy and aggression, ditto for Rage; it’s about time! And TP’s shots will fall now that Manu’s back and they can get a rhythm going! Watch TP Saturday – he’s my pick to click! ;)

  • Bruno

    Manu is the key to everything, except for the Center position(this is Pop)…

  • Junierizzle

    Manu went behind the back and hit a step back jumper while Allen was guarding him. I guess Allen didn’t think Manu could get him like that. He took it pretty hard.Lol

  • Fkj74

    Good game, wonder why Splitter is not playing we somtime get to jump shot happy.

  • SAJKinBigD

    I’m hoping Pop’s wanting to get to the Second Round before he unloads Splitter. I’m hoping that’s the plan. Or mebbe he was just waiting until they get to Memphis? I’ll agree TS needs minutes in this series. There’s really no reason not to give him at least 5 minutes of burn… Green’s getting minutes for Pete’s Sake!

  • Bob

    If Manu was playing for any other team he would be averaging 36-7 min, be a perrenial allstar and all nba. Pop has fueled this belief that Manu is going to wear out if he plays too many minutes.

  • Mark B

    I was kind of shocked when Green got in with one minute left in a close game, after not seeing any time at all in the previous 47. I’m not sure of the motivation. Is the guy a 90% free throw shooter or something? I can’t imagine any other reason for dropping him in after not playing him the rest of the game.

  • Mark B

    I was kind of shocked when Green got in with one minute left in a close game, after not seeing any time at all in the previous 47. I’m not sure of the motivation. Is the guy a 90% free throw shooter or something? I can’t imagine any other reason for dropping him in after not playing him the rest of the game.

  • Jwalters

    No, the made jumper was not it. The play before Allen went for a pump fake and thought that Manu had intentionally low bridged him while in the air. Allen was wrong, but that’s why he was mad.

  • Jwalters

    No, the made jumper was not it. The play before Allen went for a pump fake and thought that Manu had intentionally low bridged him while in the air. Allen was wrong, but that’s why he was mad.

  • Jwalters

    No, the made jumper was not it. The play before Allen went for a pump fake and thought that Manu had intentionally low bridged him while in the air. Allen was wrong, but that’s why he was mad.

  • Jwalt

    It was strictly a defensive move, and more specifically, to try to stop Memphis from shooting a 3. Pop had five perimeter defenders in the game.

  • Jwalt

    It was strictly a defensive move, and more specifically, to try to stop Memphis from shooting a 3. Pop had five perimeter defenders in the game.

  • http://www.bartking.net Bart King

    Manu is “stentorious”? Indeed; you have my imprimatur, sir.

  • td4life

    No chance of winning this series without Manu. Pop gets coach-of-the-year buzz, but as much as anything else, he’s just riding MG and comes out looking like a genius for it.

    Disappointed, but not suprised, that the Lakers got their W even with Gasol and Bryant having a poor night combining for as many turnovers as made shots.

  • ipelumber

    Manu will continue to get in the head of the Grizz. It’s part of what makes him so very special.

  • Len

    If Pop isn’t playing Splitter against the team he could help the most against (except LA), than I doubt he’s going to play. The only way Tiago gets any real burn is if Pop gets desparate.

  • Lynnbowen

    This guys is absolutely one of my all time favorite players. I remember in 2003 after coming through the Jordan days and losing some interest in the NBA, I found the Spurs (and Manu) and have loved this team with my heart and sould ever since. I have had to learn to reign in my yelling at the tv (in good and bad times!) when this team is playing. I always go back to a small comment that many people don’t know about regarding Ginobili. It came from Kobe Bryant. When espn (I think) filmed that little documentary and they followed Bryant around during the season. The Spurs were in LA and they showe Manu warming up and you here Kobe say “I have so much respect for that dude’s game….” Could you imagine the kind of offers he would have gotten had he went into free

    agency? The guy is awesome!

  • idahospur

    Tiago is not playing unless a big gets injured or Pop has some crazy plan about letting him off the bench for when we play the Lakers. Of course I have not seen Pop twirl his evil mustache lately so I doubt the second option.

  • idahospur

    Tiago is not playing unless a big gets injured or Pop has some crazy plan about letting him off the bench for when we play the Lakers. Of course I have not seen Pop twirl his evil mustache lately so I doubt the second option.

  • idahospur

    Tiago is not playing unless a big gets injured or Pop has some crazy plan about letting him off the bench for when we play the Lakers. Of course I have not seen Pop twirl his evil mustache lately so I doubt the second option.

  • Blofeld

    Bonner/Blair: 2-7 FG – 5Pts combined. Is someone really going to tell me Splitter couldn’t do that? Plus, how many times did Randolph feast on Bonner/Blair? It’s a joke that Splitter can’t get any burn this series, especially knowing Splitter has shown be can definitely handle Gasol in international play.

  • DBAGuy

    BTW, replies on the new format are a pain. Before I used to come an check all new comments, now the could be allnover the place as replies so I have to search for them. I’m finding myself barely wanting to scan the entire comment section just to see what new has been said. The sort by newest also only works onmain comments, not replies. I wished you still had available the old version and let us choose which to use. It’s only a wordpress theme right?

  • DBAGuy

    BTW, replies on the new format are a pain. Before I used to come an check all new comments, now the could be allnover the place as replies so I have to search for them. I’m finding myself barely wanting to scan the entire comment section just to see what new has been said. The sort by newest also only works onmain comments, not replies. I wished you still had available the old version and let us choose which to use. It’s only a wordpress theme right?

  • Senorglory

    Wrong. Spurs won on the strength of their kidney.

  • Anonymous

    DBAGuy,

    Are you using the sort option at the top of the comment thread? “Sorting by newest first” might help.

    We’re using Disqus, which is a common platform that gets great reviews and all that. We liked the option of replies. It’s a little better looking. The security is better. The moderation is easier. We’re able to pre-flag crude comments. Just a moment ago, I accidentally closed my browser tab, but I was able to open a new tab and my comment draft had been saved. I loved not having to retype it. Readers can maintain profiles; avatars are cool. I like all these things. They’re all improvements.

    At the same time, we added Disqus because we wanted to improve the comment field for our readers, so we’re looking into our options. We can’t give the option of one or the other. It’s either/or. So it’s something we’re going to have to think about. Appreciate your patience.

  • Anonymous

    By the way, thanks to those of you who took the time to fill out a community profile. Colin Rigney, Humberto, TD Best Ever, Marcus Dovalina, TreyPops, Edward E, etc….

  • NYC

    Wait a minute. What is this community profile you speak of?

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