But one step Wednesday night in San Antonio might be as noteworthy as any he’s taken. Guarding Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey on a drive right before the half, he slipped. Trying to get up, he slipped again, before realizing that his left sneaker had become obsolete.
Who is more surprised: Manu or Nike? There are certain things that happen in life that, as grandma puts it, just don’t make no sense.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Andray Blatche may be a center for the Brooklyn Nets, but he frequently moonlights as a ballhandler for the Nets after grabbing a rebound. As such, Blatche has previously shown that mastering the Eurostep move popularized by players like Manu Ginobili is important to him. A few months ago, Blatche tried it out on some unsuspecting shoppers in Manhattan. Today, with the Nets in England to play against the Hawks tomorrow, Blatche gave his Eurostep an authentic European workout…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just in case you haven’t noticed, right now the San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the Western Conference, at 13-1. They have won 11 games in a row, are 7-0 at home, and their last (and only) loss this season was all the way back on November 2.
Hey, we get it: The Spurs do what they do. They execute, they move the ball, they defend, they win. It’s not rocket science. But they do this with such remarkable consistency that it can become almost stultifying. People start to think of the Spurs as basketball robots — they have no feelings, no emotions, they just want to make the proper passes and find the open guys and oh hey the Spurs won again.
Which is why this video clip is so valuable: During the waning moments of a recent 30-point win over Cleveland, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had his big three (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan) resting on the bench. And here, caught on video, we see Manu pull the old “Make Tim Duncan sit on the paper cup” trick. -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players are just like anyone else, and end up celebrating Halloween by dressing up in wacky costumes. Here’s a sampling of images they’ve shared of them in costume via various social media thus far…
Serge Ibaka as Coming To America‘s Prince Akeem, and girlfriend Keri Hilson as Lisa McDowell…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After struggling in the 2013 NBA Finals, Manu Ginobili would be facing free agency. Like there was ever a question: A few weeks later, as expected, Ginobili agreed to a new deal with the San Antonio Spurs. And that’s where things get weird.
According to a story in today’s New York Times, the Spurs sent an intern to Argentina to get Ginobili’s signature on the documents. And that’s when things got weird…
Hours before the Spurs’ intern was to fly home from Buenos Aires, team officials said that he was strafed by a bird in a park. As he tidied up at a fountain, his backpack disappeared. Inside were Ginobili’s signed contract, along with the intern’s passport, cellphone and laptop.
Luckily, an international sports crisis was averted. An assistant traveling to Buenos Aires soon after brought a fresh contract and returned it to Texas without incident.
“No birds got to him,” Sean Marks, the Spurs’ director of basketball operations, said with a laugh. “We were all waiting for Manu’s contract to show up on eBay. It hasn’t yet.”
Now, I’m not sure what it means that the intern was “strafed” by the bird, but I’m assuming it might mean the bird, um, cut loose on the intern. (the word “strafed” is defined as “attack repeatedly with bombs or machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft.”)
And I can’t help but wonder if perhaps this bird wasn’t in cahoots with the bat that Manu had a run in with a few years back?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –There may be no greater way to show your devotion to your team than by having some sort of body art created of that team. And in San Antonio, where the Spurs rule everything around them, fans unsurprisingly embrace this fully.
As we saw last night, via Chris Herring of theWall Street Journal, there was a Spurs fan at Game 3 with an image of Spurs swingman Manu Ginobili shaved into his head …
And as ESPN’s Darren Rovell also tweeted last night, there was another fan there with an image of Tim Duncan shaved into his dome … (more…)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There has been a GIF floating around the internet the last few days that pretty much explains everything you need to know about the San Antonio Spurs. The image, which according to the San Antonio Express-News was converted to a GIF from ABC’s Finals broadcast opening animation, shows the Spurs’ big four (Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich) in their first seasons and then again today.
Other than some missing hair and some added scars and wrinkles, there’s not a whole lot that is different. More than anything, it speaks to what we already know about the Spurs: Consistency is what they do. And they do it better than anyone.
This isn’t something people noticed in retrospect. If you were watching the game, it was pretty much impossible to miss:
EXCITED FEMALE SPURS FAN IS GETTING EXCITED AGAIN!!!!!— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 07, 2013
Find the shrieker and escort her out. Won’t be hard; it’s the section where everyone’s ears are bleeding.— (@netw3rk) May 07, 2013
This screaming lady is doing her best to ruin a great game in San Antonio.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 07, 2013
Screaming lady turned a nation of viewers against the Spurs #AmexNBA— Lang Whitaker (@langwhitaker) May 07, 2013
This woman — well, I’m assuming it’s a woman, although I suppose it also could have been a man with a really high voice — kept it up down the stretch and as the Spurs won the game in the second overtime.
As of now this fan has not been identified. But she’s certainly been noticed. -
You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week we’ll count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.
Who is going to win the Super Bowl this year? The World Series? Your guess is as good as mine. In the NFL and MLB, who wins from year to year is totally unpredictable. In football it’s about who is lucky and who is healthy; in baseball it’s who is lucky and who gets great pitching.
The NBA is different. There are very, very few Cinderella stories in professional basketball. For my money, the 2011 Mavericks and the 2004 Pistons are the only surprise champions I’ve seen in the NBA in my lifetime.
The best teams almost always prevail. Which is why when we think of the teams who have come up short since the start of the 2000s, the answers are pretty obvious.
Let’s take a look:
5. 2011 San Antonio Spurs
What happened: The Spurs got off to a ridiculous start to the season (they were 29-4 at one point), and for a while there was talk that they might flirt with 70 wins. They cooled a bit down the stretch, but still finished the regular season as the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 61-21.
The draw in the West looked pretty good, as they faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. Talk about a mismatch – the Spurs, four-time NBA champions, versus the Grizz, who to that point had not won a single playoff game in franchise history in three previous appearances. So naturally they advanced to face HEY WAIT A MINUTE!
Memphis shocked San Antonio in six games, and the Spurs went home as only the fourth No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 8 seed*.
* The Bulls became the fifth this past season, but methinks that might have turned out differently had Derrick Rose been healthy.
Why they disappointed: I’ll be honest. I don’t really think of this Spurs team as being all that much of a disappointment. Some of that is due to the fact that the Grizzlies turned out to be a pretty good team, and some (maybe a lot) is due to the fact that Manu Ginobili hurt his elbow the final game of the season and was severely limited in the series. Still, 1 seeds don’t lose to 8 seeds, so here they are.
Here on All Ball, we have made it our goal to give every GWBB the proper Horry scale treatment this season, and for the most part, we have. But there is one shot from this season we haven’t put to the test yet – Manu Ginobili‘s game-winner against the Bucks from back in mid-December*.
Many of you have emailed in requesting it get properly rated, so here you go — better late than never.
*I apologize for not getting to it at the time, but it so happened that my niece was born that day and I was with my family at the hospital. I know, I know, where were my priorities?
Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
That’s a tough shot right there. Manu has made a living with his step-back jumpers, but he nearly loses his balance on the jump-stop before launching the shot, then continues to stumble backwards into the team bench as the ball drops through the hoop. Hey, it wouldn’t be a Manu shot if it didn’t look awkward.
Tie ballgame, so no harm for a miss. Ginobili got the ball up top off the inbound pass with 9.5 seconds to play with, so he had plenty of time to set up the shot he wanted.
Not a particularly important game, given the time of the season and the Spurs’ incredible level of play over the course of the season. The bucket did give the Spurs the win, and helped them to finish a six-game homestand undefeated (San Antonio wouldn’t lose another home game until March 6 against the Lakers).
The Spurs just don’t do big celebrations. The whole organization seems to live by a “been there, done that” code. There are some high fives and a hug from Tim Duncan, but no one really acts like this is anything that special. When you’ve won as much as they have though, that seems fair.
1.5 Horrys. I’d give it the minimum, but given the relative difficulty of the shot (though most Ginobili shots end up looking something like this), I’ll give him the extra half star.
What do you think?
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