Manu Ginobili’s return to the San Antonio Spurs line-up couldn’t have come at a better time. After a stunning upset of the Spurs in game 1, the Memphis Grizzlies were looking to shock the basketball world one more time and let everyone know game 1 wasn’t a fluke, that’s when Manu showed up.
Ginobili came out in game 2 sporting a massive brace for his right elbow which he hyper-extended at the end of the regular season, but if you thought he was going to play passively, you were in for a huge surprise. From the opening tip, Ginobili threw caution to the wind and played with reckless abandon, throwing himself on the floor for loose balls and mixing it up in the paint. It was typical Manu doing whatever it takes to win.
The Spurs took the victory, but it wasn’t easy even with Manu in the lineup. The Grizzlies refused to lose to the Spurs, instead, the Spurs had to beat the Grizzlies to squeak out a 93-87 win in game 2.
The series now shifts to Memphis and Spurs fans should be a little uneasy with how well the Grizzlies appear to matchup with the Spurs.
Marc Gasol, has equalled or outplayed Tim Duncan in the first two games of this series and aside from an off day in game 2, Zach Randolph has had his way with the Spurs defenders.
If there is one comforting fact for the Spurs, it is that with Ginobili in the lineup, he does make everyone else on the Spurs better. He frees up lanes for Tony Parker, he rebounds, he defends well and he creates shots for others and himself.
Ginobili struggled to find his offensive touch in game 2 but still made huge contributions with his 17 points, 4 steals, 4 assists and 7 rebounds.
If the Spurs are struggling this much to beat the Grizzlies in the first round, it’s hard to see them getting past OKC in the second round. The Spurs are fortunate that the Grizzlies are without Rudy Gay.