SAN ANTONIO - With the old Manu Ginobili back, the San Antonio Spurs looked like champs again. Ginobili broke out of a slump in a big way with 24 points and 10 assists in his first start of the season, and the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 114-104 last night to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.
SAN ANTONIO — With the old Manu Ginobili back, the San Antonio Spurs looked like champs again.
Ginobili broke out of a slump in a big way with 24 points and 10 assists in his first start of the season, and the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 114-104 last night to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.
Tony Parker scored 26 points, Tim Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Ginobili had his highest-scoring game of the season as the Spurs became the first team to shoot 60 percent in a Finals game in four years.
“He’s such a huge part of what we do and how far we’ve come. You can see it tonight in how we played and the results of the game,” Duncan said. “We’re always confident in him. … we know he has it in him. We hope he can bring it forward for one more win.”
Danny Green broke the NBA Finals record for total three-pointers with six more and totaled 24 points. Kawhi Leonard finished with 16.
One more victory and the Spurs’ Big Three, not Miami’s, will be the one that rules the NBA.
And a big reason was Ginobili, as he’s been for so long — just not during what had been a miserable series for him.
“I was angry, disappointed,” Ginobili said. “We are playing in the NBA Finals, we were 2-2, and I felt I still wasn’t really helping the team that much,” Ginobili said. “And that was the frustrating part.”
Last night, it was all forgotten.
“He’s obviously very popular. He’s been here a long time. He’s helped us have a lot of success over the years,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points for the Heat, which plays host to Game 6 on Tuesday night.
“This is the position we’re in and the most important game is Game 6,” James said. “We can’t worry about a Game 7, we have to worry about Game 6.”
Ray Allen scored 21 points for the Heat.
The Heat cut its deficit to one with 3:05 left in the third before Green hit another three-pointer and Ginobili followed with the stretch that turned the game into the fourth straight blowout of the Finals.
He converted a three-point play, tossed in a floater with his left hand as he drifted right and found Tiago Splitter under the basket with a pass to make it 85-74. He flipped in another runner with 2.9 seconds left in the quarter, sending the Spurs to the fourth with an 87-75 lead.
“They just absolutely outplayed us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “At times, they were just picking one guy out at a time and going at us mano-a-mano.”
Ginobili had been averaging just 7.5 points and 34.5 percent shooting in the series, making only three of his 16 three-point attempts.
The AT&T Center crowd roared when Ginobili was the last starter announced, the cheers growing louder when he made a jumper — originally ruled a three-pointer but overturned by replay — on the first possession.
He assisted on the Spurs’ next three baskets, and it was 15-10 when he hit a three-pointer that did count.
Parker picked it up from there, dancing his way into the lane repeatedly and scoring seven points in a 12-0 run that made it 29-17. Leonard’s three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left, on an assist from Ginobili, made it 32-19 and gave the Spurs 12 makes in 19 attempts (63 percent) in the opening 12 minutes.
Green has 25 three-pointers in the series. Allen made 22 in six games in the 2008 Finals for Boston.
“It’s an honor to be even playing on the same floor as some of these guys. Growing up, I watched him play all the time,” Green said of Allen. “To think I broke a record of his is surreal.”