Manu Ginobili throws insane passes in the Finals because why the hell not
Nobody makes the routine look as spectacular as Manu Ginobili. For most Spurs observers, this is no secret. Ginobili’s style of play is legendary if only for the sheer unconventionality of it all. In the second quarter of San Antonio’s Game 1 win over the Heat, Ginobili added to his portfolio of YouTube-worthy moments and briefly captured the hearts of the internet.
It didn’t lead to a basket, but Ginobili’s ability to bend space and time with his pass, and avoid the hands of feet of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, momentarily set the blogosphere abuzz.
“I think I started running back on defense and the next thing I knew the ball was in my hands,” Spurs forward Matt Bonner, recipient of the magic pass in question, said on Saturday.
Just watch the video. Look at the curve of the pass as it crosses the court. Watch as it changes directions on the bounce. Marvel at the arm angle Ginobili displays in firing that ball through the defense.
That is the Capt. Ronald Speirs of passes. In one episode of the Band of Brothers miniseries, Spiers runs across enemy lines to relay a message to another group of American troops on the other side of the battlefield. German soldiers were so stunned by this American soldier running through the battlefield that they failed to shoot him. And then he ran back.
“It was almost like a slider in baseball,” Bonner said, “so that when it hit the ground it kind of bounced low so the defense couldn’t get it.”
Bonner is no stranger to the predictably unpredictable passes Ginobili has showcased during his Spurs career. As a member of the Spurs second unit, he’s in the line of fire plenty of time. Danny Green, an innocent bystander on the play, had seen this movie before. Green is usually on the bench whenever Ginobili is in the game, with the exception of a few lineups, so he’s typically got a front row seat for these Ginobili gems.
“It’s not the first time that he’s done it, he’s done it pretty much his whole career,” Green said. “It’s usually to Tony on the cut. He’ll throw it ahead and then make the ball bounce back spin back to Tony catches it right in his pocket.
“It’s a pretty tough pass to do, especially through the defense, but somehow he gets it done.”
But what if that wasn’t Ginobili’s best pass of the game? Earlier in that quarter, Ginobili threaded the needle between Heat guard Norris Cole’s legs on a backdoor play similar to the one Danny Green referenced. That play didn’t pass didn’t result in a basket, either, but it still caught the attention of many around the interwebs.
“Same type of pass, that left handed bounce pass with a little spin on it,” Green said. “I didn’t realize it went through his legs, I was on the bench, but when I saw it on TV I looked twice. ‘Did that just go through his legs?’”
For those of us who watch the Spurs on a daily basis, we’re treated to this type of stuff on the regular. (You know, when Manu’s healthy and all that.) But with it happening in the NBA Finals, the grandest stage of them all in professional basketball, a national audience is being treated to the what folks and San Antonio have been witnessing for years.
“It’s just one of those plays that, you know, when they work it’s awesome,” Bonner said. “When they don’t it makes Coach Pop’s hair turn a little whiter.”