Tony Parker is ailing, and Tim Duncan can only do so much. As the pivotal Game Five of the NBA Finals approaches, the San Antonio Spurs are going to need a huge game from veteran guard Manu Ginobili.
The series is now tied 2-2, and will head back to Miami after Sunday’s game at the AT&T Center.
The Argentine has been very quiet in the last three games, and San Antonio will need him to find his scoring touch once again if they hope to regain a series lead over LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Ginobili has been held to single digits in seven of San Antonio’s last nine games this postseason. Head coach Gregg Popovich could hide Ginobili’s poor play, but only if Parker was healthy.
Leading the team in scoring and assists, Parker suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter of San Antonio’s Game Three blowout victory, but played to the tune of 15 points and nine assists in Game Four.
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Now Parker has reportedly said his hamstring could tear at any time, casting doubt on whether San Antonio can complete an upset with their best offensive player injured. The situation is only made worse when Ginobili struggles with his shot.
In 18 games this postseason, Ginobili is averaging 10.6 points, his worst since his rookie year. He's also shooting a playoff career low 37.7 percent from the field
The typically stellar Miami defense had done a number on Ginobili, and can parlay that success into a Game Five victory for their first lead in this seven-game series.
Dwyane Wade notched a scintillating 32 points in Game Four, and catapulted Miami to a 109-93 win in Game Four. James fired off another 33 points, and Chris Bosh had his third straight double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Veteran Ray Allen fulfilled his duties as resident marksman with 14 points off the bench, but no other Heat player scored in double figures. Miami answered the call in Game Four, as they were in danger of falling behind 3-1 in the series.
Duncan also scored 20 points with five rebounds, but the Spurs couldn’t maintain possession like they did in Game Three. San Antonio committed an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers in Game Four, which resulted in far less three-point opportunities for sharp shooters Danny Green and Gary Neal.
Neal and Green are another reason Ginobili’s been able to hide behind his slump. Green is averaging 11.2 points and has shot better than 50 percent from beyond the arc in the postseason, and Neal has seen his three-point percentage tick up slightly to 36 percent.
The game tips-off at 8 p.m. Eastern time and will be broadcast by ABC, or watch a live online stream on Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Miami is favored by one point
Over/Under: 188 points.
Prediction: Miami 90, San Antonio 86