Manu posted a column in La Nacion, the Buenos Aires newspaper, on May 1. Here is a rough translation, done with my limited Spanish, some common sense, and Google Translate.
We don’t have much time to return to the dream
By Manu Ginobili for LA NACION - May 2, 2011
It is a shame to end up like this after the good regular season we had. Contrary to other years, it seems that this time we reached our peak performance well before the playoffs, in December-January. We could not maintain any regularity from then on. We declined at the most important time, while Memphis had been on the rise and gave it their best in the playoffs. There is no doubt that they earned it. They were strong, tough, and although we defended well and had intensity, we could not match them.
If you look at the series, only the fourth game did we lose by a big difference; the others were all tight. We could have even lost the fifth if we had not tied in regulation with the miraculous triple of Gary Neal. Games were hard fought, but they took full advantage of their power in the paint with their inside game, cuts and grabbing all the rebounds like crazy. In addition, Zach Randolph had a tremendous series and Marc Gasol played well. Another key is that they got the big shots at critical moments.
While Randolph played at a high level, we already knew that Memphis game was based on him. He had a great season; even, I think, he should have been an All Star in the West. And I'm not surprised that they treated us like worn out shoes. Great players perform better when there is more pressure.
As for the triples, which were important to us in the regular season, but not against Memphis, it was the quality of the defense that they put up. They were very quick, adjusted well, and easily prevented up from shooting from the corners, where we usually have good percentages. We had no space. Neal had a quick release, but neither Bonner nor Richardson could find their shot.
Their defense was well thought out. We were isolated. We were not allowed to play pick and roll, and neither Tony Parker nor I could find space to create plays. They had a good strategy to keep us from executing our best game.
In the end, when it was over, the feeling was of disappointment. There is not much time to dream again of another title; we're a bit veteran. We feel we lost a great opportunity. We thought we could get to fight at least for the conference title. But it’s the way things are. Only four of the 30 teams get to the end of the East and West You cannot mourn the God of basketball for this elimination. Unfortunately we could not keep on growing.
For now, nothing was said of the future. Antonio McDyess did not come to say he is retiring, as I have read. I did not talk to Popovich either, so I do not know if he will continue. I imagine that there will be no major changes because we all have contracts for several more years.
And do not ask me to talk about the other series and teams, because as you can imagine, for now I just want to isolate myself, to relax both mentally and physically, and enjoy my wife and twins. Maybe later I will feel the urge to watch the finals of the NBA, but for now I want little information of what happens.
The next goal is the Olympic qualifiers, but it is still four months away. Hopefully we will do well there. At least those of us in the NBA will arrive with enough time to rest - I will be recovered from my elbow strain (in two weeks I have another MRI), Scola with his surgically repaired knee in good condition, and well, I know that Delfino and Nocioni finished the season well.
I do not think the lock out, which it seems may be coming, will prevent us from playing in the Olympic qualifiers because the Confederation cannot negotiate insurance with the NBA. Maybe they will have to put up more money than usual to protect us throughout the time remaining on our contracts with our franchises. That may be the problem. I am trying to talk with the Players Association, but it is difficult. Things are not clear; the atmosphere is very strange (or unusual), and we don't know what will happen.
But, again, I suppose there will be no problems so we can enjoy the Olympic qualifiers with our fans.