It took extra time to decide last night’s game five between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. With the series tied at 2-2, this game was a must-win for both teams as the winner of game five goes onto win the series the majority of the time.
With veteran point guard Tony Parker exiting game four with an injury and not dressing for game five, the Spurs needed someone to step up and fill that void. Manu Ginobili did not only compensate for Parker’s absence, he had one of the best performances of his career. This was the last thing anyone expected as Ginobili had been struggling recently, especially in the Memphis series.
This game, however, was a completely different story. Ginobili came out with a sense of urgency unparalleled to anyone else on the court. He showed flashes of his young self and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
MANU GINOBILI WITH THE DUNK pic.twitter.com/wMwj0T9YVP
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Alongside Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard also had a stellar performance. He netted 22 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. Leonard exited the game due to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and was unable to return in overtime. There have been no reports on whether or not Leonard will be able to play in game six.
While Ginobili had a great offensive performance, the difference maker in this game was his defense. With under five seconds left, James Harden got a clean look at a three pointer that could have potentially tied up the game. Thanks to Ginobili, Harden did not even get this shot off.
This capped off the overtime victory for the Spurs as they took the lead in this series 3-2. This series will return to Houston tomorrow as the Rockets protect home court, and their season, at 8 p.m. on ESPN.