NBA Playoffs 2013: Spurs Can't Win Without Improved Play from Manu Ginobili

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJune 10, 2013

When you talk about the San Antonio Spurs' "Big Three" these days, you may as well be talking about Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. Three-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili has been virtually nonexistent.

In the 103-84 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, Ginobili was once again a shadow of his former All-Star self. He went 2-of-6 from the floor with three turnovers. He received only 18 minutes, his lowest mark in the playoffs this season.

Headed into Game 2, the 35-year-old Argentinian was averaging 11.6 points on 38 percent shooting in 15 playoff games this season. That included shooting 33 percent from downtown. While he's been able to contribute with his passing (5.2 assists per game) and pesky defense (1.4 steals per contest), it hasn't offset his horrid shooting.

As you can see from his shot chart in the playoffs, via NBA.com, he's consistently been able to hit from the left corner and just to the right of the free-throw line at mid-range, but every other area of the floor has basically been a disaster for the 10-year veteran.

Of course, Ginobili's struggles keeping a handle on the ball have compounded his poor shooting.

Ginobili was averaging 2.3 turnovers per game in the playoffs before Sunday's matchup. That was despite playing just 26 minutes per contest. While he's always had rather poor turnover numbers in the postseason, he's generally been able to balance it out by excelling in other areas.

That hasn't happened this season.

If you really look at it, Ginobili has only had three eye-opening games in the playoffs: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers in the quarterfinals, Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors in the semifinals and Game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.

That's hard to fathom considering his success in the postseason throughout his career, particularly when you look at his numbers from the 2005 playoffs to the 2011 playoffs.

Game 2 could be viewed as the Heat simply winning a game at home, but if Ginobili's struggles continue, the loss on Sunday may be the beginning of a snowball effect. The Spurs need Ginobili's help against the avalanche that is the Miami Heat.

 

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