Argentine feeling healthy ahead of NBA Finals against Miami.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been keen to stress this week that the priority in their training ahead of the NBA Finals is to “avoid getting hurt”.
With the Miami Heat confirming themselves as the Spurs’ opponents after their 4-3 series win over the Indiana Pacers, it promises to be a fascinating match-up which sees experience take on explosiveness.
However, the Spurs believe they have a game-changer in Manu Ginobili, who despite averaging a respectable 11.5 points, 5.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds in the postseason, is expected to do more come Thursday night.
The 35-year-old has been an integral part of the Spurs’ success over the years, with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan completing the “Big Three” on which San Antonio have been able to rely on over the past decade or so.
This year will mark their fifth appearance in the NBA Finals, and the Argentine’s team-mates believe he is ready to step up and make the difference once again.
“I still feel like Manu is saving his best for last,” Parker told the media as reported by ESPN.
“I can feel a big final for him. That would be nice; we are definitely going to need it,” he added.
Duncan shared that sentiment and said that “he’s saving himself”, while coach Popovich commended the veteran’s ferocity at both ends of the court.
Ginobili understands that he may not get many more chances to appear in the NBA Finals, and as a result he has previously admitted that this season feels more special than others as he knows there might not be many more before he walks off the court for the last time.
“Even though I can start to see the end of the road, it’s hard to really imagine being a retired player because I still really love what I do.
“I’m feeling good now. We’re in the Finals, so who cares [about being injured during the regular season]?”
A healthy Ginobili bodes well for the Spurs as they will need contributions from across their roster in order to overcome the defending champions.
While Parker and Duncan have taken most of the plaudits this season, and rightly so, you can never count out the difference that Ginobili can make to any given game.