Did Ginobili travel on his game-winner?
If you haven’t been checking out Hardwood Paroxysm‘s recurring feature, Have Ball, Will Travel, do yourself a favor and start. In each edition, the prolific and precocious Rob Mahoney breaks down a controversial traveling call or no-call, as the case may be. This morning he took a detailed look at Manu Ginobili’s last second game-winner from last night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
I’ll let Rob do the talking:
According to the NBA Rulebook, â€œThe first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.â€ Thus, Ginobiliâ€™s step-back (with his left foot, prior to the jump stop) is his actual first step. The rulebook also states that â€œa progressing player who jumps off one foot on the first step may land with both feet simultaneously for the second step.â€ Ginobili does just that, and gives us a fine example of a perfectly legal jump stop. He jumps immediately afterward to fire up the game-winner, which means for those counting at home, the entire sequence consisted of a rulebook-entitled two steps.
Manu’s physicality has always had a jagged, uncanny quality to it, making him an especially difficult player to officiate, and no play from his massive ouevres of euro-steps and step-backs may demonstrate that better than his game-winning shot last night. Quite simply, I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody jump stop backwards: When combined with his first step, it gives the illusion that Ginobili was slightly out of control and after taking one too many steps barely caught himself with a jump stop.
This illusion is all the more dramatic given how well Luc Richard Mbah a Moute defends the play. Manu’s move would be sure to shake almost any defender in the league, yet Mbah a Moute is with him every step of the way. He swiftly closes the gap created by Manu’s jump stop and challenges the shot. It’s a masterful defensive play that should not be overlooked because of the mastery Manu Ginobili displayed.