After missing the last two games of the 2013 NBA Finals because of that E3 thingie, basketball has my full attention once more. Game five was a fantastic game to come back to. It was full of exciting runs, improbable performances, and Manu Ginobili’s glorious bald spot/receding hairline. Here are some random thoughts on last night’s game between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. As always, I’d love hear what you thought about the game.
Manu Rises: After sucking for the first four games of the series, Ginobili errupted for 24 points, 10 assists, two rebounds, and a steal with a +/- of +19. He kicked things off with a three-pointer and it was all classic Manu from there. At times he was out of control and at other times he was glorious. He had several drives and shot attempts that had fans going, “No! No!! No!!!” just before the shot and, “Yes!!!” when it went in. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker had strong games too, but it was reemergence of Manu that made the difference. Well, that’s not entirely true. Danny Green had a monster night too.
Danny Green’s Night in Pictures: Green continued his torrid three-point shooting, going 6-for-10 from downtown. In the process, he broke Ray Allen’s record for three-pointers made in an NBA Finals series. It went something like this:
Next, Ray Allen’s face went like this (GIF by @cjzero):
Spurs fans around the world felt like this:
It was glorious.
Tony Parker’s Quiet Excellence: Aside from some bursts in the third quarter, I didn’t notice Tony Parker doing anything too noteworthy. His hamstring is obviously bothering him and he isn’t his usual 48-minute jitterbug self. Ginobili starting helped alleviate some of his ball-distribution responsibilities, allowing him to pick his spots to put the pedal to the metal. Still, I was shocked to see that he finished with 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting. It sure didn’t seem like it. It’s impressive when someone has a great game and you barely notice it. If Ginobili doesn’t start game six, I wonder if the added ball-handling pressure (*giggle*) will lower his efficiency, given his ailing wheel.
Duke James: 25 points, eight assists, and six rebounds would be a stellar playoff game for 99 percent of the league. For LeBron James, it’s not enough. After being monstrously efficient for most of the year, his 8-for-22 shooting was poor. He seemed too deferential. His first rebound came in the third quarter. His team needed him to go into eff-you mode, but he was determined to play unselfishly. We’ve seen him take over several playoff games this year and James needed to be in best-player-in-the-league form in Q4, but it just wasn’t there. Most all-time greats seem to have an on-off switch when it comes to raising their level of play. Was LeBron’s broken last night?
Chris Bosh: Dude had two strong playoff games in a row. Let’s go crazy!
Favorite Stat of the Night: Udonis Haslem played for nine minutes and had a +/- -20 for those nine minutes. That’s so bad it’s impressive…and also makes you wonder why Chris Andersen was glued to the bench.
Your Take: Now it’s your turn! Please let me know what you thought of last night’s game. Any predictions on game six? (And no, copying Mr. T’s prediction of, “Pain….” doesn’t count.) Will the Spurs wrap it up? Or is this series going to a game seven?