Tag: Manu Ginobili
It was not a great shooting night for Stephen Curry, the Golden State sharpshooter, who was brilliant in game one at San Antonio in a hearth breaking double-overtime loss on the road. The Warriors had dominated throughout the second half of the game. As a matter of fact, they build a 16-point lead going into the final four minutes of the fourth quarter but they failed to close in the final seconds and gave the Spurs the needed space to make the final shot and force the first of two overtimes. The Golden State head coach Mark Jackson, however, insisted that this loss would not diminish the spirit of the team, but would only fuel them. And even when Curry finished with only 22 points and 4 rebounds despite shooting 2 of 6 from the three point line and 7 of 20 from the field. But it was enough to hold off the Spurs and their fierce comeback to take a very valuable 100-91 win on the road.
The Warriors got plenty of work from Klay Thompson who went on to finish the game with 34-points and 14 rebounds to guide the Warriors to their first win at the San Antonio in their last 30 visits there. “I truly believe the trials and tribulations are transportation for where you’re going,” Jackson said after his team took the win. “Game 1 made us better. We didn’t panic. We made plays. That’s a heck of a basketball team that’s extremely well-coached and has no quit in them. We don’t have any quit in us, either. The bottom line is we made the plays we needed to make.”
The Spurs got plenty of production from their regular stars. Veteran Tim Duncan chipped in with 23 points and 9 rebounds while Tony Parker had 20 points and 6 rebounds but it was not enough to beat the Warriors and Golden State put an end to the Spurs 5 game postseason winning streak. Argentinean Manu Ginobili, who took the winning three-pointer in double overtime on game one, finished the night with 12 points and 4 assists coming off the bench. Kawhi Leonard was the only Spurs to end the game with double figures as he finished off the night with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Many fans and sports commentators believed that it was the young Warriors inexperienced which ultimately cost them game 1. Argentinean Manu Ginobili begs to differ. “What happened in Game 1 wasn’t about their inexperience,” Ginobili said to the press after game 2 loss at the AT&T Center in downtown San Antonio. “It’s one of those things that happens very rarely. We shouldn’t have won that game. They came out hungrier and with more determination. They just did a much better job than us.” And he might be quite right, for all we know this series could have been 2-0 Golden State for all we know. Curry dominated from the start and if he can get the sort of support he’s receiving from Klay Thompson throughout the rest of the postseason, these guys could prove to be very hard to beat.
The Argentinean’s were hoping to add another medal to their men’s basketball Olympic Collection. After all, the Spaniards had ended up in the podium in the previous two summer Olympic games and now they had a chance to knock off the Russians, a team who had never won a medal in basketball. Let’s not forget that Argentina won gold in Athens 2004, then followed that up with a bronze medal in Beijing 2008. So when the Argentineans managed to close down on an 11-point first half deficit, and took a two-point lead when there were only 1:45 left to play in the fourth quarter, it seemed as if once again they were going to return to Buenos Aires with a medal. But in the final minute of play, everything went terrible wrong for the South Americans and with a solid three pointer from Alexei Shved, they took the lead for good and never looked back as the Russians took a 81-77 win over Argentina to win their first Olympic medal in men’s basketball.
Alexei Shved guided the Russians with 25 points, including 14 in the decisive fourth quarter, Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points, Vitaliy Fridzon 19 for a team that has certainly taken a huge step into becoming a strong name in the international circuit. Just to put how good this win is, and how much it means for this Russian team to return home with a medal, consider for a moment that four years ago, in Beijing, the Russians finished 9th, and now, four years ago and relying on a young and talented squad, they managed to win bronze. So it becomes easy to understand why a player like Andrei Kirilenko would go on to say “Feels like gold for us,” in the postgame press conference. Considering what a huge improvement they’ve made in the last years and how solid they played during the Olympic tournament, one could go on and say that they really deserved the win.
The Argentinean veteran Manu Ginobili scored 21 points for his team while the lesser-known Andres Nocioni chipped in with 16 for Argentina. They certainly didn’t took the loss too gracefully. As the final seconds ticked off Argentina’s players swarmed referees Bill Kennedy, Jose Carrion and Juan Arteaga in protest. The starters and a couple of the bench players came around Kennedy and the other officials, screaming and demanding answers for what they considered had been an uncalled foul in the last 5 seconds of play. Ginobili, Nocioni and Scola all complained to no.
But it was Pablo Prigioni, the player who just signed with the New York Knicks this summer, who got a little too out of control and sent the substitution clock flying to the floor when he violently kicked it away from the referees table. Not certainly his finest hour, but heck, on the one side, even though his sportsmanship might not be at his finest, he’s certainly a passionate player, and sometimes that’s just as important. Overall, it wasn’t a nice thing to see, and the Argentineans recognized that it just wasn’t worth it. Argentina had lost the game a couple of plays before the final buzzer.
The Argentinean National Basketball team has been a bit criticized for failing to renew it’s aging players with new talent. Truth is that, despite the fact that these guys are certainly aging, and that the average age for the Argentinean team is somewhere up in the 33-year-old range, these veteran guys are still willing to prove that they’ve got what it takes to take the gold medal away from the championship favorite, the team USA and the 2012 dream team. Yet, for a moment, before the London 2012 Summer Olympics even kicked in, many considered this team to be too old to even be considered a serious contender for a medal. Sure enough their most recent performances in the friendly matchups they played in preparation for London were not great, and that made the aging Argentinean team look weak.
So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to see that the South American squad took this first match against Lithuania as a message board to pinch on a bold statement. The old guys are here to stay! But let’s be fair and let the recently traded to the Phoenix Suns power forward, Luis Scola put it on his own words: “I think the message is that we are old but we can play, something like that,” said Scola in the postgame press conference. Sure enough, the Argentinean squad relied heavily on a solid performance Scola, who finished the night with 32 points, while the veteran Manu Ginobili proved to be the heart and soul of this squad, signing off a brilliant 21 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assist performance to lead Argentina to a 102-79 win over Lithuania on Sunday. Carlos Delfino rounded up the Argentinean game with 20 points. This was a big rematch of their 87-75 win over Lithuania in the bronze-medal game four years ago in Beijing back in 2008. Yet this time, they are going for gold. Or at least come home with a silver medal.
Now, Manu Ginobili knows that their next matchup is going to be of utter importance. They will face France tomorrow, a team that lost it’s opening game against the Dream Team. Now, the French need a win urgently, and Tony Parker, who plays next to Manu Ginobili with the San Antonio Spurs, is going to have to prove his worth in order to get around the Argentines. The Lithuanians were able to hold on in the game and were down 24-23 after the first quarter. But soon, things were going to change for good. Argentina got on fire before the halftime break and the 3-pointers just kept on coming. They scored 27 points in the second quarter, taking a 51-39 lead into the break and they never looked back.
“We didn’t want to show nothing to nobody –Said Scola in the same interview- We weren’t playing well in the preparation. We weren’t feeling well, we got this feeling that it’s not going well, we need to do something, we’ve got to play better, we’ve got to move faster, we’ve got to have a little bit more of a spark, so we needed to have this game.” Well, they’ll have a good chance to prove their worth as they play France and Team USA in the first stage.
It was beautiful. The Oklahoma City Thunder Crowd might be the loudest in the league. This fans really now how to stand behind their young and talented team and cheer them on. The San Antonio Spurs, on the other hand, figured out that it was all set and done against the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs. These squad was coming off from a 20-game winning streak, setting an NBA record for wins extending into the postseason, and had now won 10 straight games in the 2012 Playoffs. As if that was not enough, the Spurs had been very dominating in their two games at San Antonio, and it really seemed that the Thunder just didn’t had what it take to win one. But they were wrong.
The San Antonio Spurs never really had a chance against the young and motivated Thunder. As a matter of fact, the Thunder built a 27-point margin against the Spurs and with a flawless defense and a solid performance from the whole gang; they took game 3 and stayed alive in the fight for the series. Down 2-0 against the Spurs, a win at home was a must. And the Thunder delivered. Kevin Durant guided OKC’s efforts with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assist. Thabo Sefolosha set playoff career bests with 19 points and six steals rounding up a solid performance from the Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-82 in Game 3. Sure enough this is the end of the phenomenal streak set by the Spurs, but it also means that this series might just be getting started.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is a new emerging team and they don’t have a title yet. But this young team is ready to make a statement. And this year, they might have their best chance yet. Many sports commentators out there believed that in order to win a game against the Spurs, the Thunder would have to get out-of-this-world scoring figures from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. A couple of sports reporters had ventured to say that the duo had to score at least 70 points to beat the Spurs. Reality wasn’t even close. The Thunder relied heavily on a impenetrable defense and a brilliant defensive master class from Thabo Sefalosha. He finally figured out the Spurs offensive speed and just to show them how rough things would get, Sefalosha had four steals in the first 3 minutes. The Spurs ended up committing a postseason-worst 21 turnovers and scoring their fewest points all season.
The Spurs were off their mark. Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points apiece. Tim Duncan had 11 points on 5 for 15 shooting, taking 11 of San Antonio’s first 25 shots as the offense went through the All-Star center instead of Parker. For a moment there in the fourth quarter, as the starters took some rest, you could see the defeat in their faces. They really couldn’t believe what was going on. Not even the Argentinean Manu Ginobili was going to save the date. He finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds, his weakest performance in the series. Game 4 will be played in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. As of press time, the Thunder are a -3½ point favorite on the spread.