FanPost

Manu's latest column for La Nación



On April 29th, Manu Ginobili published his latests column for Argentinian newspaper La Nación, here's a rough translation for Non-Spanish-speaking Pounders:

We were "lucky" for playing against an injured team, Memphis. They didn't have three of their best players and they suffered the lack of resources and talent to score. It's normal, because a team is made on the base of their players' abilities. And Memphis didn't have many weapons to win. They were fighting for the fifth place, and with the injuries of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers, they lost a lot during the final part of the regular season and they had to play against us. Now the situation will be different because we'll face Oklahoma City Thunder, a healthy team, that won 4-1 over Dallas and have two amazing players who can score plenty of points, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. What's more, they have role players who know what the team needs and what to do on the court. Maybe they are a bit similar to Memphis on defense, but they have many more offensive resources.

We have pretty clear what Durant and Westbook represent, that's why we have to put them in uncomfortable situations and adjust defensively, as they produce more than 50 points per game. It's no secret that Durant and Westbrook are the keys of this match up. Some might say Durant scores mores, but Westbrook also dishes 11 assists and gets 8 rebouns, and play with an almost unmatched energy and passion. Together they are a constant threat, as they have an impressive amount of resources close to the basket, the same way they have it from distance. Two top-10 in the NBA. That's why we'll have to make the best team defense in order to control them. You can't defend them 1-on-1, so everyone of us will have to make a team effort. Besides, OKC is pretty good on the offensive glass; both Steve Adams and Serge Ibaka, as well as Enes Kanter go constantly for the rebound and they are a very strong presence. During the last game at SA they made our lives hard in that aspect. And they do that against everyone because they are very good at that. I think we will have to be very careful in those things.

We will see what kind of defense they use, in order to determine what we will do with our offensive game. If they leave LMA and Kawhi play 1-on-1 we'll have to spend our energy on passing the ball to them. They are our best players; the rest of us are here to colaborate y to help them to give us the best results. They are our two main weapons and we that's the way the team works. Bu if OKC starts to double-team them or make some help denfese against them, then we will need them to trust us and we'll have to make our contributions. That will depend on the strategy the rival decides to use.

During the last days in the Western Conference there were some important situations, but on the other side of the semifinals. The injuries of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry have some considerable impact. But for us they don't represent anything, because we are going to play against a healthy OKC. And if I imagined a probale match up against GSW in the Conference Finals, it would be with Curry on the other team, so it would be very balanced. But right now we have plenty of work with OKC to think about what would happen if we arrived at the WCF.

Beyond of what is going on with the Playoffs here, I can not but express my joy as Lius Scola has been chosen to carry the Argentinian flag for our delegation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. I found out on Wednesday and, while I knew he was one of the favourites, when I got the confirmation I got very happy for him. Every time one wants someone who I appreciate to live that kind of situation, so emotional, so intense as carrying the national flag at such and important stage. For an athlete is weird to express one's view about whether this one or the other one should have that honor, because it's very complicated to compare individual disciplines with team sports. It's not easy to compare team awards with particular achivements, to measure trayectories using medals. It is so different from one sport to another that it is very have to know who should be the flag-bearer. Now, once it has been defined, I'm very happy for him and for our basketball. But if they had chosen someone else, it would have been deserved, that is for sure. Obviously, I'm glad Luis had been chosen, even more because I have a 20-plus-years long relationship with him. It is something very intense and unique, because you never know what is going to happen. You know you are the face of the country for that moment and it is very nice for the ego and the soul to be the representative of the country in a such a big competition. It is a moment of great joy mixed with all the nerves for the possibilty of doing something wrong during those moments when the camera is on you. And that situation implies, besides, to receive the recognition of all you peers. He deserves it.

I suppose J Gomez will present a better translation in short time, but I hope you'll appreciate nonetheless. If there's any mistake, feel free to point it out.

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