San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili spoke to the media after Sunday night’s win over the Miami Heat in game five of the NBA Final.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Game Five
Miami Heat – 104
San Antonio Spurs – 114
Q. Manu, when did you find out you were starting tonight? And did that affect your mentality going into the game?
MANU GINOBILI: I found out yesterday before practice. He came to me and told me I was going to start because of the way they had been starting. Not anything else. He wanted to play from the beginning four smalls. So he told me I was going to start.
And it really didn’t affect╩‑‑ I just had a better game, but I’m not sure it was just because I started. It just happened. I made the first two shots. I played with Tony more, so I was off the ball in more situations. I attacked better, get to the free‑throw line a little bit more, and those things combined got me going.
Q. After the series you had so far, did you almost need game like that just to feel confident about yourself?
MANU GINOBILI: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I needed to make a couple of shots. Not that I made that many; from the three‑point line I still shot 1‑for‑4. But I just had a better overall offensive game, and I needed to feel like that.
So good that it happened in an important situation.
Q. After some of the criticism maybe you had heard the last couple of days, could you describe your feelings during that moment when the crowd is basically chanting your name, 18,000 strong?
MANU GINOBILI: As I said before, I needed it. I was having a tough time scoring, and I needed to feel like the game was coming to me, and I was being able to attack the rim, get to the free‑throw line, and make a couple of shots.
So it felt great when I heard that. To feel that I really helped the team to get that 20‑point lead, it was a much‑needed moment in the series. So I’m glad to see it happen.
Q. Manu, the last time you had a 24‑10 game was way back in 2008. When did you realize in this game that you were back in a rhythm that you needed to be in? How early?
MANU GINOBILI: The first two long‑distance shots went in, and that helped. I knew that I was going to be more aggressive regardless if those shots didn’t go in. But I really didn’t expect a 24‑point game. It didn’t happen all season long.
The assists just happens. When your teammates and╩‑‑ we shoot 60%, it’s easy to get assists. I think I passed the ball pretty well last game, too. It just happened that we couldn’t score. So that’s a different part.
But I needed to feel more important, more of a threat attacking the rim, and good to see it happen.
Q. Manu, it looked like tonight there was more isolations, whether it was you or Tony, you were just taking guys off the dribble. Were there more isolations tonight?
MANU GINOBILI: I think I designed╩‑‑ I ran only one, like the end of the third quarter, because I didn’t want them to blitz me and we couldn’t control the time. I knew it was the last possession, so I wanted to have control of having taking the last shot.
Tony had a few more because he was rolling, and we knew that was going to happen. My thing was just moving the ball and attacking seams. It’s not they were just falling flat and going one against my defender. It just happened randomly.
Q. Timmy said yesterday that he thought you were angry with yourself the last couple of days. Was he accurate? And what were you angry about?
MANU GINOBILI: I was angry, disappointed. We are playing in the NBA Finals, we were 2‑2, and I felt I still wasn’t really helping the team that much. And that was the frustrating part.
I really╩‑‑ I’m being honest╩‑‑ I don’t care about scoring 24. But just being more aggressive, trying to get to the line, being sharper with the passes. For example, Game 3 I was thrilled and I scored 7, too. But we moved the ball so well, everybody felt so active and responsive, and we all attacked and passed well. I don’t care about that. I was very happy.
But Game 4 was a different situation, and I was a little upset.
Q. Manu, you’re much loved in this town and you haven’t received much criticism over the years. When all of a sudden a lot of people are saying, “what’s wrong with Manu?” “What’s going on?” Did any part of that hurt at all? Was that difficult to hear some of that criticism or what?
MANU GINOBILI: I really don’t know exactly what was going on, but with so much media around, they ask you things that you are not used to answer. So that’s when you realize you’re being criticized. But I really don’t read what’s going on. I knew that I was not scoring much, and I feel it in the air. But I tried not to care about it.
I know╩‑‑ I’m critical enough of myself to be worrying about what other people say. So as I was telling before, I was frustrated enough knowing what I played, how I played and what I could do better. So I really didn’t need to listen what other people were saying or reading about it.
Q. Pop was saying a few minutes ago how popular you are here in town. You walk around, it seems like everybody is wearing a Ginobili jersey. Did any part of you think, I’m letting these people down, all these great fans I have?
MANU GINOBILI: Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes. You know, we all are very popular. In Argentina there’s a lot of people following and your family and friends and everybody, they think great of you and they expect great things. And sometimes that affects you a little bit.
But at the end of the day, we all watch video. I watched the game again, and I see and I watched the things I could do better, how I pass the ball, and I don’t think that I struggled that much. I just wasn’t much of a factor offensively. And I had to be more aggressive.
But we talk in the team and we╩‑‑ that’s what I care the most about, what Pop thinks and what Pop tells me what to do and what TD and Tony expects from me and other teammates. That’s the main concern now.
Source: ASAP Sports