San Antonio Spurs 92, Milwaukee Bucks 90: Manu Ginobili is a bad man
AT&T CENTER — Our protagonist is slouched on a folding chair in an interview room in the AT&T Center getting ready to talk to Andrew Monaco for the Spurs’ post game show. Manu Ginobili sits, completely focused on absolutely nothing. Occasionally he glances up with an expressionless face at random people entering the room.
For a man who just hit a step-back, game winning jump shot as time expired in the Spurs’ 92-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks not even five minutes ago, Ginobili is very somber. Ginobili’s shoes, socks and ankle tape have all been removed and he sits wearing just his uniform, a pair of sandals and his thoughts.
It shouldn’t have come to this. The Spurs led the Bucks by as much as 18 in the third quarter and looked primed to blow it open. But they didn’t. Perhaps they were looking ahead to Thursday night’s game in Denver and looking to get some rest. But just 15 minutes of game time later, it was a tie ballgame and the outcome was in doubt.
In the end, the Spurs’ savior this season got them off the hook. With the game tied at 90 and 9.5 seconds left, Ginobili took the sideline in-bounds pass from Matt Bonner and waited. The seconds painfully ticked away and Ginobili dribbled slowly to the center circle. Not even a hint of urgency.Â Surely he realized there wasn’t much time on the clock, right?
With three 3-point shooters positioned on the perimeter and Tim Duncan cleared out as much as he reasonably could for someone trying to be a threat on the offensive boards, Ginobili waited for his chance.
With just 3.8 seconds remaining, he made his move. Manu took two dribbles towards the left side of the floor and gathered the ball. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, our antagonist on this final play, was able to get an ever so slight deflection on the ball.
Ginobili still got the ball into his shot pocket, albeit awkwardly. It affected his step-back and could’ve been a travelling violation. In fact, according to Bucks Head Coach, it was travelling.
“It was great defense on him, it made him travel,” Skiles said.
Travel or not, Ginobili maintained possession and balance, rose up and away (mostly away), and drained it.
[Update: Our guy Rob Mahoney says that looking at the rule book, it wasn’t a travel.]