Ginobili rediscovers shooting touch alongside Parker


AT&T CENTER – For all that went so horribly, horribly wrong for the Spurs with their 110-96 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 3, there was one small victory. With the reinsertion of Tony Parker to the starting lineup for George Hill, Manu Ginobili was able to rediscover his shot.

Ginobili scored 27 points against the Suns on Friday night, starting alongside Parker. Manu shot 10-17 from the field and 4-9 from the 3-point line. Entering Game 3, Ginobili was shooting to the tune of 27-77 from the field, a slump-worthy 35%, since breaking his nose in the Spurs’ first round series against the Dallas Mavericks.

Ginobili claimed that the bandages on his broken nose didn’t affect his shot, but the numbers begged to differ. However, with his shooting performance on Friday night, perhaps he was being truthful. Maybe it was simply a change of starting position that he needed.

When Ginobili started next to Hill in the backcourt, it was Manu who did more of the facilitating on the offensive end. Hill spent more time off the ball and spotting up on the perimeter, while Ginobili ran the pick-and-roll offense.

On the season, Ginobili’s numbers in situations where he’s the main distributor are less than situations when he’s playing off the ball:

Situation % of time Points per possession FG % 3-point FG% Turnover % Scoring %
Isolation 17% .87 35.5% 34.8% 11.3% 38.7%
Pick-and-roll ball handler 29% .9 43.2% 22.2% 16.3% 43.4%

While Manu’s numbers are good in many categories, they’re not ideal.

But when Manu lines up next to Tony Parker in the backcourt, he spends less time handling the ball. Parker is a bit of a ball-dominating point guard. Not in a bad way, he doesn’t dribble the air out of the ball or anything like that, but much of the play unfolds while Parker has the ball in his hands.

With Parker in, Ginobili spends more of his time cutting off screens and trying to find openings closer to the basket – in a Richard Hamilton, Ray Allen sort of way. In scenarios where Manu is playing off the ball, his numbers improve significantly.

Situation % of time Points per possession FG % 3-point FG% Turnover % Scoring %
Spot-up 19.1% 1.16 41.4% 41.1% 4.2% 43%
Hand off 6.8% 1 48% 26.3% 12.9% 45.2%
Cut 3.2% 1.43 70% N/A 2.3% 70.5%
Off screen 5.5% 1.12 42% 42.9% 2.7% 44%
All stats courtesy of Synergy Sports.

I will concede that there is some definite grey area here. Manu spends most of his time in either pick-and-roll ball handler, isolation or spot-up situations, which means there’s a smaller sample size in other areas.

Regardless, based on the numbers, Ginobili appears to be more effective for San Antonio when he’s playing off the ball. With only one more remaining game guaranteed, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich should employ a similar strategy with Ginobili as he did on Friday.

What’s he got to lose?

  • grego

    Too bad Parker messed up his shoulder early on. He was never the same after that. And Hill has just not been a factor in this series.

    I think Manu’s nose has factored in somewhat. However, Grant Hill definitely has played solid D on Manu. He’s still quick enough and smart enough to play with Manu.

    So much potential to give the Suns problem, but so little of it became reality.

  • Dr. Love

    Manu may have found his touch, but Parker, Hill, and Jefferson sucked bigtime last night. It’s been fun, fellows, but our season is over. See you next year.

  • Pingback: Links from across the nation after the Phoenix Suns took a 3-0 lead over the San Antonio Spurs| Valley of the Suns()

  • ChillFAN

    This is not “a team loss.” Two guys are absolutely, completely responsible: Take a bow, Roger Mason and Matt Bonner.

  • Pingback: Manu Ginobili Unmasked |()

  • doggydogworld

    @Chill, How can you blame game 3 on Mason and Bonner? Mason didn’t even play. Bonner shot well and was not responsible for either of the two biggest problems (missed FTs and inability to defend the perimeter).

  • Jordan

    Parker was short-rimming his shots early on. I think he had a mild case of jitters. Though, I do think that fall had something to do with it too.

    I’m glad to see Manu is ok. I think we can win this next one (no one ever said that I have anything but blind optimism).

  • ChillFAN

    The Spurs system depends on open look three point threats, so when guys on the roster for that singular purpose (bonner & mason) disapear in the playoffs for the second year in a row, I find it hard to forgive them. Give the Suns their due credit, they are flat Out outplaying the Spurs. But it doesn’t help when pop depends on two zombies.

  • BigBalls


    You have been consistently reasonable and rational in your take. Good job of backing up the facts on the supposed “Designated Shooters”, who never seem to make shots, particularly in the playoffs when said shots are needed the most.

    But it doesn’t just end there. It is a coaching issue as well. For when a player(s) are not performing, its up to the coach to make an adjustment in personnel. As such, sure a guy like Mason and Hairsonton (before he got hurt), could and did do a better job then Rog Mason.

    Pop, even through the playoffs, after a full playoff last year, and 3/4 of this season, continued to play Mason when he clearly demonstrated that he was not up to the task.

  • alisa

    why parker continued to shoot when he felt bad in his shoulder?Isn’t he supposed to dish out assists.It was a pity pop did not come up with adjustments.Manu picked up shooting himself. It is not sth brought by parker’s presence.

  • rice

    The shots Manu made in game 3 weren’t exactly catch-and-shoots. Most of the perimeter shots he made were step backs with a hand in his face, and where he was facilitating the offense and not Tony (or maybe after Tony dribbles 2/3 of the shotclock away and passes off to Manu). I don’t think being off the ball had anything to do with his hitting shots Friday night.

  • Ken

    I find it at least slightly amusing that you choose to throw Mason under the bus, especially since he hasn’t playing since game 1 and only played 12 minutes in that game. The guy can’t really take the blame from the bench can he?

  • Blentzen


  • Brett

    The Spurs were beat three times in a row by a better team. Suns have been there too!!

  • eightbytes

    at least recognize the effort of phoenix suns. congratulations nash and company. hope you beat lakers in WCF. i see WCF champion dominating the NBA Finals. =)

    spurs, better trade mason and bonner. such a liability. i hope spurs also realized their trade frustration towards jefferson. come tiago splitter! =)

  • Pingback: Out of the Timeout: The San Antonio Spurs Weak Side Screen & Roll play | 48 Minutes of Hell()

  • Pingback: To the Moon? Ginobili keys San Antonio Spurs survival()

  • Pingback: Manu Ginobili excels in Game 5 next to Tony Parker()