Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spurs struggling, Manu rounding to form

The Spurs are slumping a bit, but Manu Ginobili is playing better as of late.
This article is cross-posted at Spurs World
After a great first half season, where the San Antonio Spurs found themselves clinging to the second-best record in the West without Manu Ginobili, San Antonio have dropped three out of five to start their longest home stand of the season and are still searching for the chemistry that marked their rodeo road trip where they went 8-1.
The three losses all came against teams above .500 (Chicago, Denver and the Clippers). The two victories,  came against teams with losing records (Charlotte and New York).
“This week was very important for us, and we lost three,” said Ginobili, whose team has fallen from 13-1 at the AT&T Center before the break to 15-4. “One, it can happen. Two, maybe. Three is too much.”
Even with the rocky stretch, the Spurs have held on to second place in the West, thanks in part to a collection of rival teams dealing with struggles of their own.
If the Spurs continues with this trend, they might blow the cushion they have and suddenly the chase for the West 2nd seed gets tight.
They have two games remaining at the AT&T Center — Monday against the Washington Wizards and Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. They must win both to ensure a winning record on their seven game home stand, while easing Ginobili into the rotation.
Like in the past, however, the Spurs have never cared much about their win-loss record. Rather, the team has always focused on getting better by the day and staying healthy as possible.
“I’m only concerned with trying to get them there healthy,” Popovich said. “Whatever that may entail or mean, that’s going to be my goal.”
The Spurs maybe in a rough patch at the moment, but that could change sooner because Manu is slowly looking like the Manu of old.
In the past three games, Manu has averaged 15.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the floor in 26 minutes per game.
In Friday’s loss against the Clippers, Ginobili had a team-high 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from downtown, and 6-for-6 at the foul line.
But more importantly, he looked fluid in his movement, showed fearlessness in attacking the basket and did a fine job as the team’s play-maker in Tony Parker’s absence.

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