Manu Ginobili is awesome at Basketball…

….and other observations from Spurs Game 1….

While watching the San Antonio Spurs play the Minnesota Timberwolves in their first game of the season I was reminded that Manu Ginobili is one of a kind and a major reason the Spurs have won so many games over the past 500 years. It was the end of the third quarter and the Spurs were working on adding to their lead when Ginobili was mauled by one of the T-Wolves. The refs decided that the ball was mauled and not Ginobili’s arm so naturally it was a turnover and the T-wolves got it back. A minute or so later Ginobili was guarding former 6th Man of the Year, and over dribbling savant Jamal Crawford on the back end of a two for one and decided to just rip the ball out of his hands. He was fouled, walked down to the other end of the court, drained two free throws, and gave the Spurs their largest lead of the game. It’s that kind of competitive fire and commitment to winning that make it so endearing to watch a balding 40 year old play NBA basketball. He ended the game with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 1 block while shooting 28.9 % from the field.

Other things I noticed….Lamarcus Aldridge is a large human being who knows how to score a basketball, go easy on him Spurs fans be grateful that you have a guy who can get you 20 an 10 every night….Dejounte Murray can play, he made 7 of 8, worked hard on defense, rebounded well, isn’t afraid, and has the length to guard multiple positions….Rudy Gay should fit in well off the bench, he made heady plays and worked hard on the glass, he clearly knows how to score and even pulled off that classic Spurs pass to Danny Green for an open corner three….The Spurs may not have a top heavy Super Diva team like the rest of the NBA contenders, but they have an entire roster of hard working smart basketball players, a hall of fame coach, and a once in a generation talent in Kawhi, that will ensure that they win plenty of games and contend for number 2 in the West….

Back to Manu….my high school basketball coach had this thing that he would always say, that embodies everything Ginobili, “It takes no talent to hustle.” Now don’t get me wrong Ginobili is an incredibly gifted and talented basketball player. He’s also an incredibly gifted hustler and the type of player that wills his team to victory.

Whether it’s the game clinching block at the end of an outstanding overtime playoff game to put your team up 3–2 over your instate rivals while your best player is sidelined. Hello James Harden! Or an epic dunk in the close out game of the NBA finals. Hello Chris Bosh! Or a meaningless steal at the end of the third quarter in the first game of the season, Manu Ginobili is a winner. A fierce competitor and one of the many reasons to watch the NBA. And who knows maybe there’s some hope that the Spurs give the Warriors a run for their money. Spurs 1–0, Warriors 0–1, 81 games to go.