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Refs Don’t Decide Games; Manu Ginobili Decides Games

By Jeff Koch on December 16, 2010.

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

San Antonio 113, Denver 112  //  22-3  //  1st in the West

This is a game we should have lost. This is a game I was prepared to lose. Hell, this is a game I kind of wanted to lose, just to relieve a bit of pressure. Playing in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back is one of the hardest regular season tasks there is. After Wednesday’s draining game against Milwaukee, to go out and do it less than 24 hours later and a mile higher is really impressive.

This game perfectly highlighted why our “Big 3” may still be the best out there, or at least the 3 that play the nicest together. Tony got things going for us in the first half and was dominating at will. He was probing into the lane, breaking down the defense, and either scoring or passing out to wide open shooters. We started the game flat as hell, and if not for Parker and Duncan carrying the load and keeping us afloat, Denver might have run us out of the gym.

And how about the big fella? After last night’s impressive defensive performance, he followed it up with his most complete game of the season (yes, even better than the triple-double at Golden State). 28 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 1 steal. More importantly, he was the anchor on both offense and defense, and caused the team to dig in on both ends of the court in the 4th quarter when the pace slowed down and the game turned very playoff-ish. As the seconds ticked away and every possession was critical, there was Duncan in the block, scoring, drawing fouls, and orchestrating the offense. Beautiful. And don’t discount the high degree of difficulty on making the inbounds pass on Pop’s ballsy game-winning play.

And when it’s winning time? That’s Manu Ginobili time, who converted the basket on the inbounds from Tim in typical Manu-circus fashion. Oh, and just so happened to step in to the lane and draw the charge on Carmelo on the biggest play of the game. How many players (let alone leading scorers for their respective teams) do you know who would have the foresight AND the balls to make that play? How many superstars win games for their teams by drawing charges? Hell, how many games have you ever seen decided by a clear charge call? That’s some mystical bball shit. Truly, we can not be too effusive in our praise for Manu, who, as the tired adage goes, just wins games.

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