Who would have thought the most important player in an NBA series would be a 39 year old from Argentina? That was the case in game 5 of the Western conference semis. Manu Ginobili showed he still has some fight left in the tank as he helped secure the win for San Antonio with a game saving block of James Harden in the final seconds of OT. He wasn’t the only player to step up unexpectedly either. What transpired in San Antonio turned game 5 into an instant classic.
The Spurs closed the game with Ginobili’s block with a score of 110-107. The game went to overtime after Harden attempted to drive but was called for an offensive foul that gave San Antonio the final possession. The Spurs tried to run a play for Patty Mills, but they were unable to get a shot off at all. Once overtime began, neither team even scored a field goal in the first three minutes. But once the game was one the line, the Spurs stepped up. Danny Green scored 7 of the Spurs 9 points in overtime. One of the most important plays came with about 30 seconds left as he finished an and-1 layup. The Spurs were able to do all this without their star player, Kawhi Leonard.
In the third quarter, he stepped on Harden’s foot and played limited minutes for the rest of the game. Not to mention he didn’t even play in overtime. Leonard has already said he will play in game 6.
Another frustrating loss for Houston might have fans concerned. In the waning minutes, Harden seemed to lose some of his touch. He had two turnovers on drives in clutch moments, while getting his last shot blocked. In times when they need him, he was unable to step up. Whether that was him choking or the Spurs prevailing we don’t yet know. He will look to improve once game 6 comes around.