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NBA: San Antonio's Manu Ginobili shrugs off shooting struggles

Published May 6, 2012 9:04 pm

Spurs • Guard's scoring is down, but he still contributes.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Manu Ginobili has yet to hit a 3-pointer against the Jazz in this lopsided Western Conference first-round matchup.

Through three games, the San Antonio shooting guard has been content to facilitate, rebound, play defense and fill in the blanks — without being the aggressive force off the bench he usually is.

His shooting is off, yet he doesn't seem to mind. His scoring is way down — from 12.9 points per game in the regular season to 5.7 per game in this series — yet he wore a broad grin on Sunday morning following San Antonio's practice at EnergySolutions Arena.

Entering the Spurs matchup against Utah in Monday night's Game 4, where San Antonio will have every chance to sweep the Jazz, success is no longer dependent on Ginobili's ability to score in bunches. And he's just fine with that.

"It doesn't matter how many points I score," Ginobili said. "We have guys that can score, and other guys that can make plays. It's a good feeling to have. Obviously, I would like to be shooting the ball better, but I'm just going out there and playing the game."

That statement could signify the difference with the Spurs this year compared with years past. San Antonio's depth has made it a favorite to win the Western Conference. Ginobili is struggling with his shooting, true. But Danny Green, Stephen Jackson and Gary Neal have all picked up the slack at one time or another by making open shots.

In a weird way, that has made Ginobili even more dangerous. In Saturday night's Game 3, Ginobili seemed content to run the second unit and set his teammates up with easy looks. He ran the point in place of Tony Parker in the second half. His penetration and pass to Matt Bonner for the halftime buzzer-beating 3-pointer served as perhaps the biggest play of the game.

The baskets will come, Ginobili said. The shooting will work itself out. For Ginobili, the wins are more important, as is the fact that he's not playing 35 minutes a game and wearing himself out in the process.

"I will never worry about Manu," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's Manu. I'm not going to worry about his shooting. He's going to be fine."

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tonyaggieville