Manu Ginobili’s play in the last 50 seconds was nearly too much for Gregg Popovich to handle. Then again, the San Antonio Spurs’ coach is used to his veteran guard’s free-wheeling style.
Ginobili’s 3-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime lifted the Spurs to a thrilling 129-127 victory over the Warriors and Stephen Curry, who had 44 points in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.
The game-winning shot came 43.7 seconds after Ginobili took an ill-advised 3 that seemed to cost the San Antonio Spurs the game.
”I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning,” Popovich said. ”That’s the truth. When I talk to him and say, ‘Manu,’ he goes, ‘This is what I do.’ That’s what he’s going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago.”
Ginobili’s 3 capped a unlikely comeback for the Spurs, who trailed by 16 points with 4 minutes left in regulation before going on an 18-2 run to close 4th quarter and force overtime.
Warriors trailed by five with 1 minute left in the 2nd overtime before the Warriors scored 6 straight points to take an one-point lead on Kent Bazemore’s reverse layup that gave the Golden State a 127-126 advantage with 3.9 seconds left.
Bazemore’s layup was set up by Ginobili’s errant 27-foot 3-pointer with 44.9 seconds left.
”I took a really bad shot,” Ginobili said. ”I was on top of the key. I had no chance at all to make it to the basket. I couldn’t penetrate; I was really tired. Jack gave me a couple of feet and I assumed I could make it.”
Trailing 127-126 with 3.9 seconds left in the second overtime, Ginobili launched a high 3-pointer off a cross-court inbounds pass from Kawhi Leonard.
”On the last play, it wasn’t for me; they just left me open,” Ginobili announced. ”I set a screen for TP (Tony Parker) and both went with him and left me open on the weak side. When I caught it I just saw Brazemore flying. I just gave it plenty of air and it went in.
”I wasn’t even an option. They told me just go screen and stay far from the play. The play was for Tony or Boris. And they got confused.” Basketball odds
Golden State Warriors had one final chance but Jarrett Jack’s 3-pointer from the top of the key was off.
”We had a heartbreaker in Game 1 of the last series (against Denver),” Curry said. ”A last-second layup by Andre Miller. So we’ve been here before. But we know how to come back. We’ve been a resilient team all year. To have a chance to go 1-1, we continue to have a chance to do that.”
Tony Parker scored 28 points towards lead San Antonio Spurs while Danny Green added 22 points; Leonard had 18 and Ginobili 16.
Tim Duncan finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes. Duncan, who is battling a stomach bug, left the game with 3 minutes left in regulation and only played the final seconds of each overtime.