After a furious comeback, two overtimes, and 44 points from Steph Curry, the game that had everything came down to Manu Ginobili. But not before he nearly gave Gregg Popovich and Spurs fans a heart attack.
The Warriors, paced by the ineffable Curry, seemed bound to break one of the NBA's longest losing streaks—entering last night, they had dropped 29 in a row in San Antonio. But Golden State found itself up 16 with under four minutes remaining. The Warriors started missing, and the Spurs starting hitting nearly every time up the court, and somehow, by the time Danny Green hit a three on the last possession of regulation, the Spurs had gone on an 18-2 run to tie.
"I have no clue. I've really got to watch it to see what happened."
This is sort of what Ginobili does. He gets intoxicated by the game and by the moment, and enters a fugue state where he's capable of truly amazing things, or truly dumb choices. With 44 seconds remaining in the second overtime, with San Antonio up three, Ginobili inexplicably attempted a contested three with 11 seconds still on the shot clock.
Manu, what were you thinking?
"I took a really bad shot. I had no chance whatsoever to make it to the basket. I couldn't penetrate; I was very tired. Jack gave me a couple of feet and I thought I could make it."
This explains nothing. Ginobili could have passed out to any of his teammates who were having a better shooting night (all of them), or just hold for an equally prayer-less shot and run off another quarter of the game clock.
"He didn't say a word. He has faces that mean a lot."
Naturally, redemption found Ginobili on the Spurs' last chance, despite a play specifically drawn up to keep him away from the ball.
Manu, what did they tell you in that last huddle?
"They told me just go screen and stay far from the play."
As he set a pick for Tony Parker, the first option, and stayed wide to open the paint for Boris Diaw, the second option, the Warriors got crossed up by the Spurs' movement and left Ginobili all alone. With a wide open look, he wasn't passing this up:
Manu, how do you sum up a pretty ugly game in which you went 5-20 from the field?
"It wasn't my best shooting night, but it really helps when you hit the last one."
Out of the mouths of babes. But on Ginobili's stinking, sparkling night, we have to give the last word to Gregg Popovich, who's as helpless as anyone when Ginobili gets it in his mind to do Ginobili things.
"I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning," Popovich said. "That's the truth. When I talk to him and say, `Manu,' he goes, `This is what I do.' That's what he's going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago."