Manu Ginobili’s ‘nasty’ game spurs San Antonio in Game One

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, during...

Manu Ginobili (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spurred (pun intended) by an impassioned plea from their coach for more “nastiness” in their effort, the San Antonio Spurs outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder 39-27 in the fourth quarter and went on to win Game One of their Western Conference Final series, 101-98.

During that same pre-fourth-quarter huddle when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said “I want some nasty” from his team, the 63-year-old and current NBA Coach of the Year also asked his players “Are we having fun yet?” It seems super sub Manu Ginobili decided to heed Popovich’s advice; he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter on his way to a 26-point performance off the Spurs bench.

This was the 10th playoff game in Ginobili’s career where he came off the bench to score 25 or more points in a postseason contest. Not surprisingly, the Spurs are 9-1 when Ginobili comes off the bench in a playoff game to score 25 or more points.

Following are the players (from 1986-2012) who scored 25 or more points in the most playoff games when they did not start.

Games w/25+ points, Player (Team’s record in those games)

10….. Manu Ginobili (9-1)

8….. Eddie Johnson (3-5)

5….. Thurl Bailey (2-3); Vinnie Johnson (2-3); Kevin McHale (1-4); Ricky Pierce (3-2); Nick Van Exel (3-2)

4….. Leandro Barbosa (3-1); Jason Terry (2-2)

3….. Mark Aguirre (2-1); Sam Cassell (2-1); Dan Majerle (3-0); Jerry Stackhouse (2-1)

This was the second game of these playoffs where a reserve came off the bench to score 25 or more points. OKC’s James Harden came off the bench to score 29 in the Thunder’s Game Four win over the Dallas Mavericks. This was Ginobili’s first 25-point performance off the bench in a playoff games since May 25, 2008.

Ginobili’s 26 points as a sub in a playoff game are far from the most scored by a reserve since 1986. Five different subs have scored 35 or more points in a playoff game since the 1986 playoffs. In fact, Nick Van Exel has three of the seven top performances off the bench in a playoff game since ’86; all three of his games happened in a seven-game series against Sacramento in 2003.

Points, Player, Team (Date)

40: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 10, 2003)

39: Thurl Bailey, Utah (May 4, 1988)

36: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 8, 2003)

35: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee (May 2, 1989)

35: Juan Dixon, Washington (May 2, 20005)

35: Eddie Johnson, Phoenix (May 9, 1989)

35: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 15, 2003)

Research Source: www.basketball-reference.com

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