Gregg Popovich waited five minutes to bring Manu Ginobili off of the bench and the Argentine was an absolute stud on Thursday night. This is the Spurs' first offensive possession with Gino on the floor and The Wily One sets up at the left wing as Tim Duncan seals off Rashard Lewis in the left block. Manu moves toward the baseline, LeBron James sees the seal and the move from Manu so he leaves Kawhi Leonard alone in the corner to bring help on big Tim. It's no use as the bounce pass from Manu is pure and the GOAT PUFF gets two of his 21 points.
After the Timmy layup Manu started to rain deep-balls, going 3-of-3 from behind the arc in the first quarter. This is the middle triple and it comes out of transition. Tony Parker is pushing the ball in the middle of the floor and Gino moves to the break where Parker hits him with a solid, if unspectacular, pass. Numero Veinte hits no rim and the Spurs' bench gives him a standing ovation.
Manu is a great passer in a pick-and-roll setting and Tiago Splitter is a great roll man. So, when Chris Anderson and Ray Allen pursue Gino around the arc Tiago is free to roll into the paint where Shane Battier is a little undersized to stop Splitter. Manu makes one of his fantastic passes, over and between the two defenders, and Tiago shows good patience under the basket as he waits for Norris Cole to fly by before hitting a bunny.
Here's Ginobili weaving his way through defenders into the paint as Patty floats to the corner. Patty's man, Norris Cole, doesn't see him move and helps on Manu which made it easy for Gino to kick it to the corner where the little Aussie buries it.
Ginobili wasn't the only Spur that consistently created for the team. My man Boris Diaw played a spectacular game despite only scoring two points on five shots. His six assists and 10 rebounds were really important, and his versatility is going to play a huge role for the rest of this series. This sequence starts with Boris receiving the ball in the right corner and driving around Ray without hesitation. Tony is camped out in his spot in the left corner and Boris hits him after tricking LeBron and Cole. That's a great French Connection.
Watch Boris go up and get an offensive rebound as the Heat don't do a good job of boxing out on Tony's miss. Boris takes a couple of dribbles as he surveys the floor and finds Timmy with an open lane in front of him near the free throw line. That's great chemistry and play from these two San Antonio big men.
This is just poor defense from Dwyane Wade. He let's Manu saunter to the restricted area and Diaw feeds him the ball for the half-second score.
Just out of transition we see Tony Parker work his way into the middle of the lane and fake a jumper to get Chris Bosh up in the air before he passes it to a wide-open Tiago Splitter. Throw it down, big man! Throw it down!
Danny Green was important in this one, scoring 11 points in just over two minutes of the fourth after going scoreless for the first 42 minutes of the game. This is his second three, and like the first one, Boris is the man that set him up. Boris drives baseline from the corner and Danny has drifted out to the wing where Bobo finds him for the wide-open look.
That's it for this edition of GIF Breakdown.We'll be back after Game Two, hopefully after the good guys take a 2-0 lead over the bad guys. Until then, this team is so easy to root for.