SAN ANTONIO - In the midst of the worst year of his long and storied professional career, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili hinted Saturday that it might be time to pack it in.
Ginobili missed 22 games in an injury-marred regular season after missing nearly half of the previous campaign.
ďIíd say: ĎNo, I canít deal with this anymore, Iím tired of rehab and trying to be in shape all the time,íĒ Ginobili said of trying to recover from injuries.
ďBut at this point Iím fine physically, so you are a little more optimistic. But you know, itís been 18 years doing this. You kind of get tired and you want to enjoy a little more time at home sometimes. You go back to Argentina to see your people, and you think about it. Iím going to have time for that, too.Ē
Ginobili will become an unrestricted free agent after this series. He is averaging just 7.5 points per game on 34.5% shooting through four games and is not wearing his struggles well.
ďItís impossible not to put pressure on yourself. Youíve been here. You know you are not going to have many other opportunities,Ē he said.
COLD WATER POURED ON RUMOUR
Saturdayís hot rumour was that Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers were on the verge of a blockbuster.
However, it now appears unlikely that Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and former league MVP Kevin Garnett will be moving.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers werenít prepared to meet Bostonís asking price, which was believed to include promising young point guard Eric Bledsoe, centre DeAndre Jordan and draft picks.
Based on a contractual clause, Rivers canít coach anywhere besides Boston for the next three years, unless the Celtics receive compensation.
The L.A. Times reported that the Clippers would now turn to either Brian Shaw or Lionel Hollins next week to replace Vinny Del Negro.
The Nuggets are losing key personnel at an alarming rate.
First executive of the year Masai Ujiri left for Toronto. Then coach of the year George Karl was fired. Then star swingman Andre Iguodala reportedly decided to opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.
Saturdayís news was that Pete DíAllessandro, Ujiriís right-hand man and Denverís vice president of basketball operations was leaving as well, to become the new general manager of the Sacramento Kings.
STATS VS. GUT
Itís often difficult for professional sporting outfits to get veteran and new-wave, analytical thinkers on the same page.
Miamiís Shane Battier had an interesting observation on the topic Saturday.
ďWith the data thatís come out in the last five years, teams understand what wins and what loses. Whatís good offence, whatís bad offence, whatís good defence, whatís defence you can live with,Ē Battier said.
ďAs more data comes out, you understand how to mitigate risk, I think thatís the biggest thing with the numbers. People are caught up, the traditionalists say: ĎOh, the numbers they canít tell a guyís heart and psychology.í Yeah, thatís true, the numbers arenít everything, but what the numbers can do, is they mitigate risk and they make your margin of error a little bit smaller.Ē
AROUND THE RIM
Miami plays better when it goes small, but thatís not the case for all NBA teams. ďItís a trend right now, but the Lakers were winning with two bigs (not long ago),Ē head coach Erik Spoelstra said. ďIf you have a big centre like a (Roy) Hibbert or Dwight Howard, obviously you build around them, those guys are game-changers,Ē Battier added. ď(But), unless you have a behemoth in the middle, I think it makes sense to just go for versatilityĒ ... Former Raptor Matt Bonner has a Canadian wife and spends a lot of time in the country. Perhaps thatís why his red beard looks like it belongs at the NHL playoffs, not the NBA Finals. Bonner agreed, calling it a playoff hockey beard ... Spoelstra on Mike Millerís scoreless performance as a surprise starter in Game 4: ďIt was about as impactful a zero for one game as you can have in the Finals.Ē Spoelstra said Miller improved the teamís spacing ... TNT Analyst Kenny Smith on the legacy of Spurs forward Tim Duncan: ďHe might have the best career in the modern era ... other than Michael Jordan. Every other year at one time he was in the NBA Finals. When you thought he was done, he had the best record in the NBA. This guy can have five after thisĒ (if San Antonio wins) ... ďI donít have any fans in San Antonio, I donít think any of us do.Ē ó Chris Bosh ... Congratulations to Canadaís cadet menís team, 62-50 winners Saturday over Puerto Rico to win the bronze medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Kitchenerís Jamal Murray was excellent again with 15 points and Torontoís Justin Jackson also impressed.
FINALS STATS AND FACTS
Miami has only won five of its past 10 games, while San Antonio has won 8-of-10.
Miami is 4-23 all-time in San Antonio (including playoffs), but has won 2-of-3 there this season (regular season included).
LeBron James passed Hakeem Olajuwon and John Havlicek and moved into ninth on the all-time NBA playoff scoring list with his 33 points in Game 4.
James has 3,777 points in the playoffs. Tim Duncan sits sixth with 4,543 points.
No team has won a title after losing a playoff game by 35+ points as Miami did in Game 3.
Miami now has 80 combined regular season and playoff wins this season. Only the Los Angeles Lakers (four times), Chicago Bulls (three times) and Boston Celtics (twice) have done it as well.