Manu Ginobili, Welcome To The NBA Finals.

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Welcome to the NBA finals, Manu Ginobili.

The Argentinian rolled back the years in Game 5 of the NBA finals, giving a virtuoso performance that has the San Antonio Spurs on the brink of their first NBA Championship since 2007.

The perfect time for his best game of the season.

Coach Gregg Popovich pulled another masterstroke on Sunday night, giving Ginobili his first start of the season, much to the delight of the capacity crowd. Ginobili repaid his Coaches faith in him with 24 points and 10 assists, his highest totals of the campaign.

More importantly, he was the driving force behind the Spurs' 114-104 victory over the Miami Heat, leaving them one game away from an NBA Championship.

Ginobili has owed his team a performance of this nature, having been a shadow of his former self for long spells of the season. He has always had trouble with injuries, this season being no exception, Ginobili playing only 60 games in the regular season. Popovich has been careful in managing his minutes, but his production may have suffered as a result. His averages of 11.8 points and 4.6 assists in 23 minutes is an incredible decline, one that had Ginobili considering retirement at the end of the season.

After Game 5, he may want to think again.

Starting over the unfortunate Tiago Splitter, Ginobili benefited enormously from extended playing time alongside Tony Parker and Tim Duncan and began to look like his old self again. The 35-year old showed off some dazzling footwork and attacked the basket with aggression, leaving the Heat scratching their heads as to where this performance came from.

Ginobili took advantage of the focus the Heat put on Duncan and Parker, the focal points of the Spurs offense. Miami weren't particularly concerned with the contribution Ginobili would make, with good reason. He was averaging just 7.5 points in the previous four games in the finals and had struggled immensely with his shot. A player of Ginobili's quality is always a threat and Game 5 represented a total transformation in fortune, going 8-14 from the floor and making 7-8 free throw attempts.

Another performance like this, and the Spurs will have a Championship.

As good as Manu was, he can't take all the credit. As is normally the case with the Spurs, it was a collective effort, in keeping with their business model that saw them dominate at the turn of the century. They shot an incredible 60 percent from the floor, the first team to do so in a finals game for 40 years.

A simply astonishing feat.

Predictably, Parker led the way with 26 points, putting any fears about his hamstring to one side. If he was anxious about his injury getting worse, it didn't show. He was electric from the field, blowing past his opponents at will. The Heat simply don't have an answer for an in-form Parker, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have their uses, but they are completely out of their depth guarding the best Point Guard in the league. Going 10-14 from the field, Parker now must do whatever he needs to on his troublesome hamstring in order for one more big postseason game that will give him his fourth championship ring.

Parker may be the star, but Danny Green will be a serious contender for the finals MVP award if the Spurs go on to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy. He has been lights-out from beyond the arc throughout the series and his six three's (24 points, 6-10 from three-point range) in game 5 broke the NBA finals record set by Ray Allen for the number of three's made. If Green can continue this rich vein of form for one more game, the Spurs will surely be champions.

Tim Duncan was once again the model of consistency, his 17 points and 12 rebounds went relatively unnoticed as that's what we have come to expect from one of the greatest to ever play the Power Forward position. Duncan's influence on this team throughout the Playoffs can't, and shouldn't, be understated. He leads by example, a huge calming influence always willing to give advice during critical in-game situations. A true great of the game who won't be fully appreciated until he has left the game behind.

The series now goes back to Miami, where the Heat will be hoping home court advantage plays a part as they look to avoid elimination. Their 'Big 3' combined for 66 points on Sunday, but contributions from elsewhere were virtually non-existent. Ray Allen aside (21 points), the Heat had almost no output from other members of the roster, putting the team's hopes squarely on the shoulders of their three stars if they are to force a game 7.

There's not much more the Heat can do in reality, they seem to have run out of ideas and seem flustered by the Spurs' tactical changes when Popovich decides to implement them. They had no answer for Ginobili's introduction into the starting lineup, looking confused and very unprepared on defense. Their rotations were slow and the Spurs got to the basket far too easily. If Popovich decides to stick with Ginobili in his starting five, coach Erik Spoelstra will have to make sure the necessary adjustments have been made to ensure they avoid another humbling defeat which could cost him his job.

LeBron James, who has admitted this series is personal to him after he was swept by the Spurs as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007, now has his work cut out if he wants consecutive championships. He has galvanised his team almost constantly during the postseason and they will need him at his brilliant best if they are to come back from the brink in this series. Kawhi Leonard has done a fantastic job containing James for periods of this series, but you get the feeling game 6 will be LeBron's strongest to date.

It will have to be, or the Heat will be done.

The Spurs now have two chances to get back the championship, six years since they last lifted the crown. A testament to their professionalism and longevity, the model which all NBA teams should be following.

If Ginobili is riding off into the sunset after this season, another performance like Sunday night will be the perfect send-off.

However, if Sunday is anything to go by, there's life in the old dog yet.

Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_