While Tony Parker quietly led all scorers in game 5 of the NBA Finals, it was Manu Ginobili who stole the show. Many have believed that Manu would come up big and find his touch in at least one game of these Finals, and the crafty Argentinian delivered in game 5.
The first surprise of the evening came when Gregg Popovich decided to move Tiago Splitter to the bench, and instead started small by inserting Ginobili into the starting lineup. And what a decision that proved to be.
Playing alongside Parker, Ginobili got to mix it up. He played off the ball, but also got to share the ball handling duties and created looks for himself off the dribble. Down the stretch of the game, he connected on a lot of difficult shots and once the Miami Heat started respecting him, he found shooters around the perimeter.
Manu finished the game with 24 points and 10 assists, and was the shining star of the team, although Parker, Danny Green, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard all had great games.
The question that remains is whether Ginobili can keep up this pace moving forward. While he has shot below 40% in the postseason, he has also said that his struggles have nothing to do with his health, as he has felt great.
The Spurs are one game away from another NBA championship, and if Manu can replicate his game 5 performance, San Antonio could very well lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.