Manu Ginobili is a stubborn man.
Early in the first quarter the Spurs had a fast break. Kawhi found Manu open on the right wing and he launched himself for a vintage 2005 jam that would get the AT&T Center rocking. The problem though is this isn't 2005 and Manu blocked his own dunk on the bottom of the rim. For better or worse, that's who Manu is.
Manu is a whirling, living, breathing Euro-step, still itching to break ankles. NFL cornerbacks are in awe of Manu's short memory and his ability to line up and talk trash after metaphorically getting burned on an 80 yard out and up. Manu is the man that makes Pop want to trade him on the spot and then cook him breakfast seconds later.
Manu is the one who hears the jeers, and more importantly, the whispers in Game 4 of the 2013 NBA Finals but stubbornly ingores it all in Game 5, as 19,000 fans chant his name for much of the 2nd half en route to a crucial win. And for all the talk of the heartbreak in Game 6, many overlook the fact that Game 5 was a heart pounding surprise, thanks in large part to the stubborn Argentinian.
Manu rose like a Phoenix from the ashes in Game 5, giving Spurs fans across the globe hope. Which only made the loss in Game 6 more painful, and Timmy's slapping the floor in Game 7 more raw. But don't blame Manu for that. His stubborn refusal to allow his legacy to be defined by his failures cleared a path for Spurs fans to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during that six day span in June of 2013. That's who Manu is.
Manu is a brilliant basketball mind with a body that can't always keep up these days, yet he stubbornly trudges on. Hell, even his hairline is under attack from every flank, but he pays no mind. Manu Ginobili is a stubborn frustration, and for that he will arguably always be the most beloved Spur.
So on a night when Austin Daye, Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard wowed the crowd with trampoline jumps and youthful athleticism, I couldn't stop thinking about Manu Ginobili stubbornly missing a dunk.
For in depth coverage of the 113-91 victory over the Sixers, check out Fred's excellent recap.
Quote of the night
"Austin earned his minutes tonight in that game"
Spur of the moment
It has to be Austin Daye, right? 22 points in 28 minutes to go with 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 1 assist. Very impressive performance, Austin. I will refrain from making a play on words with your last name as I saw how that got old on Twitter rather quickly. It didn't even take a Daye.
Odds and ends
- Danny Green was working on his "pump fake the three, dribble in for the mid-range jumper" play in pre-game so the playoffs must be approaching.
- Tim Duncan was working on his shot from the elbow in pre-game and referee Danny Crawford, dressed impeccably in a three piece grey suit, intentionally ran into him on his way to the tunnel. Timmy yelled at him "Guess that was a travel?" as Crawford ran away laughing.
- As I was heading up the tunnel to eat, I passed Tim Duncan signing autographs. About 15 feet away, I turned back to look because he's Tim Duncan and bumped right into Marco Belinelli on his way to the court. In that instant I realized I could totally take him down.
- With 1:42 left in the 3rd a time-out was called and Pop gave Austin Daye a high five, and a slap on the rear. I'm betting that affirmation was the highlight of his career thus far.
- As I was sitting on press row a fan walked past and said I looked familiar to him. He said I looked like a Manning, which made me real happy. He walked past a few minutes later with his beer in hand and called me Archie, which made me real sad.
Tweets of the night
Manu just got stuffed on the front of the rim… one of the saddest (and kind of funny) instances of aging possible in the NBA.— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) March 25, 2014
Manu makes up for the rim-check with a normal layup fed by Duncan while cutting. #Sixers 5-4— Paul Garcia PS (@PaulGarciaPS) March 25, 2014
Popovich giving @manuginobili his 3rd start of season ... and he just missed a dunk— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) March 25, 2014
My May 2014 self is banging his head on the scorer's table at the 143rd, "Why isn't Austin Daye playing against OKC?!?" question.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 25, 2014
Austin Daye receives high five and butt slap from Pop after that assist. Welcome to the team, big fella.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 25, 2014
Here's to (raise your glass)
- Here's to Sean Elliott. He catches some grief as a "homer" but he's a Spur, through and through. He dutifully signs autographs and poses for pictures before the game with fans lucky enough to be courtside. He's part of the family.
- Here's to Bruce Bowen. Bruce was at the game tonight, and while not as obvious as Sean, he's still a Spur. Those inside the organization are thrilled when he's around.
- Heres to The Admiral.
- And here's to the stubborn brilliance of Manu Ginobili. I hope you never change.