Miami Heat Index: Manu Ginobili

An oral history of the Tony Parker shot

June, 7, 2013
Haberstroh By Tom Haberstroh
Tony Parker
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The San Antonio Spurs took Game 1 of the NBA Finals thanks to Tony Parker's late heroics.

Tony Parker made a shot at the end of the shot clock to put the San Antonio Spurs up 92-88 with 5.2 seconds remaining to help ice the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Here's how it happened ...

... in their own words.


Erik Spoelstra: That seemed like a 26-second possession.

LeBron James: You're going to make me go back to that play?

Manu Ginobili: He had LeBron on him.

Tony Parker: I knew he was coming. Obviously a lot of NBA teams, they put bigger guys on me.

Tim Duncan: I think at this point my mind was just blank. I just wanted him to get a shot up in the air.


Parker: If LeBron is on me, I just have to try to keep playing the same way, pick-and-rolls.

Ginobili: I think we waited too long for him to play that pick-and-roll, and they are so good guarding that and helping and rotating and long arms on the ball.


Duncan: I was trying to get position on the board, trying to work Bosh up the lane a little bit, so I could get back to the board.

Spoelstra: We played it all the way through. That's probably what this series is about.

Parker: It felt forever. It didn't work out like I wanted it to.


James: He stumbled two or three times.

Spoelstra: There were a couple of loose balls where it might have been an opportunity to make it a jump ball, and then he just broke through.

Gregg Popovich: It looked like he lost it two or three times.


Ginobili: He lost it twice, so I was trying to just [chase] him around to get him an outlet.

Danny Green: That wasn’t drawn up, but he made it look like it was.


James: He fell over, and when he fell over, I was like, 'OK, I’m going to have to tie this ball up.'

Duncan: I see him go down and I'm just praying he gets a shot off. He does just about everything in the book that he had.


Parker: I thought I lost the ball three or four times.

Popovich: He stuck with it. He kept competing.

Spoelstra: It's going to go down to the last 10th of a second.


James: He got up and went under my arm. I got a great contest, and he even double-pumped it and barely got it off.

Spoelstra: You can't leave it to chance, even if it's right there at the end of the clock, a body in front. Hopefully you try to make him shoot over the top, but he made a tough play.

Parker: At the end, I was just trying to get a shot up. It felt good when it left my hand.

Popovich: He got it up there on the rim.

Ginobili When he turned to the other side and threw it up, I thought it was late. But going back in the timeout, they told me it was good.


Parker: I was happy it went in.

Duncan: It was just amazing.

Ginobili: And of course Tony's shot is one of those things that happens sometimes. We got lucky today. One of those things that could have been either way. It was just so close, but it was an unbelievable shot. That was the game winner.

Green: That last one wasn’t executed the way we wanted, but Tony made a big play.

Popovich: We were very fortunate. Great effort by Tony, and as I said, we were fortunate.

Spoelstra: He made a tough play, and you have to give him credit for that.

James: Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession. That was the longest 24 seconds that I’ve been a part of.

Allen follows Ginobili's path off the bench

November, 29, 2012
Wallace By Michael Wallace
Getty Images
Ray Allen uses the same bench blueprint as Thursday's opponent, Manu Ginobili.

MIAMI – The sales pitch was as quick and effective as Ray Allen's release on that smooth spot-up jumper.

“We talked about it very briefly,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recalled of the delicate conversation that shaped his team's summer and cemented its rotation plans entering the season. “He understood where we were coming from.”

That discussion between Spoelstra and Allen took place two weeks after the Heat completed their run to a title and as they sprinted into free agency with hopes of swiping the NBA's career 3-point shooting leader away from Boston.

On the surface, the odds seemed stacked against Miami in its pursuit. The Heat had significantly less money to offer, lacked the emotional ties and relationship with Allen and, with Dwyane Wade entrenched, wouldn't dare flirt with the possibility of floating a potential starting job at guard.

So Spoelstra entered his meeting with Allen hoping to find the best way to quickly get on the same page with Allen regarding the sacrifices needed to make this union work.

Fortunately, Allen was already a chapter ahead.

“It never bothered me,” Allen said, reflecting on his decision to come to Miami to accept a full-time reserve role for the first time in his 16-year career. “The way I always looked at it … it's mostly an ego thing if you don't want to come off the bench. What's the big deal?”

It was that kind of attitude that sealed the deal.

Allen has made a seamless and productive transition into his new role as Miami's sixth man. On Thursday night, he'll face another highly-accomplished veteran who has thrived in a similar role off the bench when Manu Ginobili and the streaking San Antonio Spurs visit AmericanAirlines Arena.

Allen and Ginobili anchor what appears to be a resurgence of former starters or starting-caliber players who are thriving this season as key reserves on contending teams. Ginobili, of course, has been going strong off the bench for a decade long although he's had brief stints as a starter.

Ginobili, the league's sixth man of the year in 2008, led the Spurs to their fifth straight win – and eighth in a row on the road – with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Allen is also coming off an impressive outing in which he scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter – including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final seconds – in a win over Cleveland to improve the Heat's franchise-best start to 6-0 at home.

Spoelstra said Ginobili's approach in San Antonio under coach Gregg Popovich and the manner in which Allen has embraced change in Miami should serve as examples of how teams benefit collectively when individuals sacrifice.

“You know what we've done here, in terms of getting guys to sacrifice and check their egos?” Spoelstra said. “The Spurs have been doing this for over a decade. It's the blueprint. Not many players are willing to do it. Ginobili is a Hall of Famer, easily. We all know he probably could have been a starter his entire career, but he's willing to come off the bench. Stephen Jackson goes there knowing he's going to be coming off the bench.”

That level of willingness decreases the coaching burden.

“Pop is able to coach games, whatever he thinks is best for the team,” Spoelstra continued. “That may be changing starting lineups from game to game for whatever you have to have, and guys don't get all bent out of shape. If it were only about winning basketball games, it's amazing what you can actually get accomplished.”

With a bench that includes Allen, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis, the Heat are stocked with reserves who willingly took less money and accepted reduced roles despite being starters or key contributors throughout their careers. But Spoelstra still makes it a priority to ensure that the overall message doesn't get lost.

Pride sometimes makes egos difficult to keep in check.

“It sounds great on paper until you actually have to sacrifice and your role changes,” Spoelstra said. “More teams could probably have more success if guys could check their egos at the door and just do what's best for the team. And that's probably one of the greatest challenges in this league. It's something we continually have to communicate with our group, yet our group has been willing to sacrifice and change their roles, which is probably one of the most untold stories in pro sports.”

Wade sees more players willing to buy into reserve roles, particularly on better teams that are willing to spend money and prioritize the role of a sixth man. Boston's Jason Terry, Los Angeles Clippers' Jamal Crawford, New York's J.R. Smith and Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin have all relished in the reserve role.

Just call it the Ginobili-inspired, Allen effect. Wade said it's obvious that when certain reserves enter the game, it completely changes their team's energy level, which provides an immediate impact.

“And that right there feeds your ego enough, where you don't have to worry about being in the starting lineup,” Wade said. “If you want to play on a good team – many players want to become part of something special and play on a good team – then that role is going to be there for you. If you want your minutes and want to be the man, then that's out there for you as well. It depends on your decision. If you make the decision to come to a team that has a lot of pieces, it's a big option to come off the bench, and you've got to be willing to accept that.”

Although there were whispers in Boston that Allen didn't like the idea of coming off the bench when the move was made late last season, he insists it was never a key factor in his decision to part ways with the Celtics and join the Heat.

Allen enters Thursday's game averaging 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 52.9 percent from 3-point range. He's playing just under 27 minutes per game, but has been a mainstay in the Heat's closing lineup.

Allen comes off the bench early in games. But he's certainly not occupying a seat when games are on the line.

Still, the toughest part of his new role has less to do with actually making the adjustment himself. The challenge comes in convincing relatives and friends that he's fine with it – and that they should embrace the role, too.

“A lot of times, you deal with people around you who are like, 'Come on man, you're too good to be coming off the bench.'” Allen said. “You've got people that won't let you let it go. You just have to be right with yourself and be happy knowing you're on a good team that can win, and you know you're going to contribute. You also have to remember that the compliment is in the five that finish.”

The Eurostep bowl: Wade vs. Ginobili

November, 28, 2012
Haberstroh By Tom Haberstroh
MIAMI -- Thursday's game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will feature a battle between two of the game's powerhouse teams in a matchup that could also possibly preview the 2013 NBA Finals.

But really, the most important thing is that it gives us the opportunity to ask a most important question:

Who has the better Eurostep, Dwyane Wade or Manu Ginobili?

That's the question that was posed to LeBron James after Wednesday's Heat practice.

And after uttering a contemplative "Whew!", James offered his response:

"You've got to throw James Harden in there, too."

OK, fine, he's in there, too.

"Man, I don't know... That's... I mean, you say Manu because he is the Euro guy, he's European," James said. "But D-Wade has an unbelievable Eurostep and then James Harden's Eurostep is crazy, too. It doesn't get no better than those three."

Sounds like James settled on Ginobili, but not without some trepidation.

As a side note, James may have made a gaffe by calling the Argentinian guard a European. Obviously, Argentina is not part of Europe, but to James' credit, Ginobili's family is Italian, Ginobili holds an Italian passport and he speaks fluent Italian. Not to mention he played in Italy before playing in the NBA. So we'll give James a pass on that one.

James going with Ginobili could be the safer choice, since Ginobili called dibs on it first. Ginobili said as much to a couple years ago.

"I think Wade is more explosive than I am,” Ginobili said. “He is very tough to cover with his explosiveness, but I started doing the Eurostep before he did.”

Wade famously made Kevin Garnett dizzy with one in the 2010-11 playoffs. He got David West last postseason. Corey Brewer. Or just watch about a hundred of them here.

But then again, Ginobili even has put out a how-to instructional video on the move.

As James mentions, Harden should also receive consideration as the top Eurostepper. Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and others would also like a word. But on Thursday, we'll see Wade and Ginobili, two of the game's best.

So, who's got the best Eurostep?

Manu Ginobili on Heat and Euro-Step

March, 14, 2011
By Sebastian Martinez Christensen
Manu Ginobili
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport
Manu Ginobili will square on Monday night against fellow Euro-Step practitioner Dwyane Wade

MIAMI -- A little over a week ago, the long faces on the Miami Heat bench said it all.

The fourth quarter was coming to an end and the San Antonio Spurs were putting the finishing touches on a 30-point statement victory over the Heat.

The Heat now have their chance at redemption.

“We have to forget about that game, because if we don't, we will become the dominated team,” said Manu Ginobili after Monday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. “We have to move the ball as well as we did last time, but more importantly we must stay humble.”

The Spurs made 17 shots from beyond the arc while dismantling the Heat, and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went so far as to call it the Spurs' "best performance of the season”.

In order to repeat, the Spurs must keep their foot on the pedal, some Ginobili knows all too well.

“Myself and Tony Parker must be aggressive and attack the rim, because when we do so, we are at our best, and that opens up perimeter opportunities.”

San Antonio holds the best record in the NBA (54-12), but rarely do they get much love from the press and you don't usually see them listed as one of the premiere contenders to win it all.

The Heat's situation is completely the opposite, as Miami's every move is put under the microscope.

“I bet it isn't easy to have each one of you moves overanalyzed,” expressed Ginobili. “The majority of those who are voicing their opinions are not in the locker room with the team, but most definitely I prefer to be flying under the radar.”

The Heat now has two victories in a row, and have recovered from their five-game losing streak which caused many to jump off the Heat's bandwagon.

“People are being too harsh with the Heat,” said Ginobili. “They are still in third place in the Eastern Conference and playing good basketball. What they have done is admirable considering they started the season with 10 new players. That's almost a complete squad.”

The Argentinean shooting guard is the first to admit that staying healthy has been the key to the Spurs success, and there is no doubt that, when healthy, Ginobili is an elite player.

Tonight he'll be covering Dwyane Wade at times, hence, the inevitable question:

Who has the better Euro-Step?

“I think Wade is more explosive than I am,” stated Ginobili in between laughs. “He is very tough to cover with his explosiveness, but I started doing the Euro-Step before he did.”

As of now, life is good for the Spurs, and tonight will just be one more test.

Tim Duncan, by his own admission, is “older and not as good as before,” but Ginobili remains confident that the Spurs can make another title run.

“We can be champions once again because we are a great team and we play in a great system,” emphasized Ginobili. “We need all of our players, but at the same time do not depend of any of us exclusively.”

Polar opposites of the Heat, which is probably one major injury away from disaster.

You can read the original version of this story in Spanish at



Dwyane Wade
21.4 5.4 1.1 32.3
ReboundsC. Bosh 7.5
AssistsD. Wade 5.4
StealsM. Chalmers 1.5
BlocksH. Whiteside 2.4