Thunder vs. Spurs: Manu Ginobili Must Step Up for San Antonio to Regain Control

Luis Batlle@lbatll1Contributor IJune 2, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 31:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs covers his face in the fourth quarter on the bench while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 31, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

A failed effort by San Antonio in Oklahoma City was the fault of none other than Manu Ginobili.

Following two impressive performances at home to propel his team to a 2-0 series lead, Ginobili disappeared in Game 3 in what resulted in a 20-point blowout victory.

In Games 1 and 2, Ginobili was sensational, to say the least, on the offensive end. His 46 points came on 15-of-25 shooting in 30 minutes per game.

More importantly, it was his ability to shut the door on the Thunder that gave the Spurs the series lead. In the fourth quarter in the first two games, Ginobili was averaging an impressive 10.5 points per contest.

En route to a loss in Game 3, it went all downhill for Ginobili in the fourth quarter after he brought his team down with him.

To start off the final quarter, Ginobili missed a jumper, committed an offensive foul and threw the ball away to Oklahoma City. Gregg Popovich had finally had enough, and at the 8:30 mark that was it for the Argentinian talent.

Not to mention, Ginobili had one of the poorer games he has had all season as a whole. In the loss, Ginobili had just eight points on a 1-of-5 shooting effort to go along with four turnovers and just one assist.

Talk about a game to forget.

Based on the outcome of Game 3, there is no question this team rides on the shoulders of Manu Ginobili. On a team filled with talent, he is the one superstar known for his ability to close out games, and he'll need to rise to the occasion in Game 4 to give his team the 3-1 advantage in the series.

Expect Ginobili and company to come out significantly more efficient in Game 4. If the Spurs have any chance at winning the West, it will be behind the second-half scoring attack of Ginobili.