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Who got Matt Bonner? The perils of double-teaming Manu Ginobili

That time the Celtics decided to double prime Manu, and it didn’t go too well.

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

In a recent sit down between former Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and current big three Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, the two legends had a hilarious story about a time they played the Spurs, and their game plan to trap Manu Ginobili backfired in about the worst possible way.

As the story goes, Pierce is guarding Ginobili, who has “been on a tear” heading into the game, and Garnett had Matt Bonner but was helping off him to double Manu. Naturally, Bonner, who was one of the best three-point shooters of his era, goes off for 20-ish points in the first half, so Pierce and Garnett reconvene at halftime and decide not to leave Bonner. So what does that do? Well, of course Manu proceeds to go off on them in the second half because now he is free from the double-teaming and trapping, and the Spurs win.

It’s a brief, hilarious little story and a fun stroll down memory lane (and also not the first time they’ve told it, so that goes to show how it stuck with them). I tried to figure out what game this was, and while I have no guarantees, I’m guessing the Spurs’ 105-99 win in Boston on February 8, 2009, when Bonner had 23 points (mostly in the first half) and Ginobili had 19 (albeit only three assists, although just because Bonner benefitted him being double-teamed doesn’t mean every shot came directly from a Manu assist).

If you’re interested in watching the entire interview, you can click here (but obviously it’s mainly Celtics stuff).