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San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobilli, and how players are treated by fans

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Manu Ginobilli has retired, and for a moment my eyes watered. And it was made all the worse by the fact that for most of this summer, Spurs and NBA fans alike seemed to believe that he would come back for one more campaign. That he would use those old-man moves, get to the rim with ease despite being 41 years old, and continue to dazzle and amaze everyone.

As the news of Manu’s retirement broke, NBA players and commentators rushed to congratulate him and honor his memory. In addition to being one of the greatest players of his generation, there is no doubt that he is also one of the most beloved.

But it was not always like that. Manu was not always beloved by the NBA and its fans. Manu first made national attention in 2005, with his long hairdo and ability to score. He was not a sixth man then. He was a starting and star wing, tagged alongside Bruce Bowen. In the 2005 NBA Finals, he averaged 18.7 points shooting nearly 50% from the field, 39% from three, and collected 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Manu accomplished all of this facing off against Tayshaun Prince and a legendary Detroit defense, which one year earlier forced Kobe into arguably the worst playoff series of his career.

In the deciding Game 7, he scored 23 points in a grueling, heavily defensive NBA Finals where getting that many points was far more impressive than compared to today. There is a credible argument that he, not Tim Duncan, should have been the Finals MVP. Even if he did not get the trophy, Manu was a new star. A cool guy.

But he did not stay cool for long. Manu the star became Manu the flopper, the heir to Vlade Divac’s tradition of acting European players. The combination of Manu and Bruce Bowen’s dirty play combined to create a defensive Spurs playstyle which won titles yet caused San Antonio for a time to be the most hated team in the league. San Antonio’s demolishment of the Seven Seconds or Less Suns, a team today viewed as the predecessor of the modern NBA playstyle, only increased their unpopularity.

None of this is to suggest that Manu should not be lauded. He was a NBA legend, an incredible worker, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer even without considering how he and his Argentineans destroyed the United States on the world stage. As Shea Serrano with The Ringer pointed out, Spurs fans loved Manu even more than Duncan himself.

But Manu and the Spurs are an interesting example of how the perceptions of NBA players change over time. There is little doubt that some of the fans ten years ago who hated the Spurs and the flopper Manu are today mourning Manu’s retirement and how it symbolizes the end of the Spurs era.

And when we think about how our perceptions of the Spurs era have changed over time, what does that mean for today? Golden State today is despised as a league of quitters, sell-outs who banded together to win a bunch of meaningless rings. But will that perception stay true in ten years, when Durant and Curry are in their twilight? Will we look back on their offensive brilliance with nostalgia, and compare them positively to whatever team is dominating the 2020s?

The Warriors were built and designed differently compared to the Parker-Manu-Duncan Spurs, so things may end differently for them. But as we rightfully memorialize Ginobilli for his brilliance and old-man style, we should also remember how we used to remember him. By thinking about all Ginobilli accomplished, we can both refute those claims of him being nothing but a flopper and also gain a more comprehensive understanding of him as a player.

Boston Celtics

NBA Playoff Schedule 2018

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Are you ready for the NBA Playoffs? Well, we have you covered with the full NBA Playoff schedule including game times, TV coverage info, matchups and dates.

Here is how things are breaking down, schedule wise, per NBA.com. NOTE: * = if necessary

Western Conference

No. 1 Houston Rockets vs. No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves

Game 1: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 15 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 23 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: April 29 at TBD

 

No. 2 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 7 San Antonio Spurs

Game 1: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 14 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 16 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 19 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 4: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

*Game 5: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans

Game 1: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 14 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 19 at 9 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 4: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 21 at 5 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz

Game 1: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 3: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 21 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: April 29 at TBD

 

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 8 Washington Wizards

Game 1: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 14 at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 17 at 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Game 3: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Game 4: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 22 at 6 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors: April 29 at TBD

 

No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 7 Milwaukee Bucks

Game 1: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 15 at 1 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 17 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 22 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC

*Game 5: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Miami Heat

Game 1: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 2: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 19 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 4: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 24 at TBD

*Game 6: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat: April 26 at TBD

*Game 7: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers: April 28 at TBD

 

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers

Game 1: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 18 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 20 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

*Game 5: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: April 25 at TBD

*Game 6: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: April 27 at TBD

*Game 7: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers  April 29 at TBD

 

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Golden State Warriors

Warriors Pull Through To Victory Thanks To Durant

Critics of the Golden State Warriors may have celebrated Thursday night when the team’s champion Steph Curry injured his ankle, forcing the team to confront the San Antonia Spurs without their star player.

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Critics of the Golden State Warriors may have celebrated Thursday night when the team’s champion Steph Curry injured his ankle, forcing the team to confront the San Antonia Spurs without their star player, but the Warriors pulled through to achieve a stunning 110-107 victory despite their loss. Largely propelled by an astonishing performance put in by Kevin Durant, the Warriors trounced over the Spurs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, but fans are still abuzz about the Curry’s injury, which could bog the team down in future games.

Things weren’t looking good for the Warriors early on in their game against the Spurs; fans sprang to their feet to catch a glimpse of Steph Curry as he went down with an ankle injury, and up until the last minutes of the game it appeared as if the Spurs might knock the Warriors down from their podium and insert themselves into the national spotlight. Despite the early hurdle to their success, however, the team put in a stunning performance; Kevin Durant scored a game-high 37 points alone, for instance, with Klay Thompson and JaVale McGee each putting up a respectable 13 to boot.

Fans who may have been in tears about Curry’s absence on the court early on likely went home with some new favorites, as the nail-biting game was virtually decided on the basis of Durant’s epic performance in the closing five minutes, in which he scored 15 of his 37 points, which you can see on CentSports. At one point dropping 14 points in a row, Durant seamed unstoppable on the court, and explained how he felt the need to be particularly aggressive thanks to Curry’s absence.

“Without Steph, we’re missing a lot on the offensive side of the ball,” Durant said. “We just tried to be aggressive,” Durant remarked, according to SFGate.

Despite the impressive performance put in by the other Warriors as Curry was pulled from the court, however, fans will likely remain concerned about their star player’s future, especially given that his ankle-woes are nothing new. Curry has sprained his right ankle four times this season alone, and the handicap that’s taken him off the court before could surface again in the future when the team is facing some fierce competition.

The basketball star will have to sit out a two-game trip thanks to his most recent ankle injury, per CBS Sports, meaning fans will be on edge to see if Durant and the other’s team-saving performance was a one-hit wonder, or a new normal for the Warriors. With the Warriors now only half a game behind the Rockets for the best record in the Western Conference, tensions will be high as the team heads to its next match with the eyes of the basketball world upon it.

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NBA

Manu Ginobili, Spurs Reportedly Finalizing Contract

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Manu Ginobili is heading into his 16th season with the San Antonio Spurs.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the Spurs and Ginobili, 39, are finalizing terms on a deal that will see the veteran return for his 16th NBA season.

Ginobili has won 4 NBA Championships, been named to 2 All-Star teams and was the 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year.

Ginobili will go down as one of the greatest players in franchise history and despite his skill deteriorating he provided key, clutch moments throughout the season.

Ginobili is a valuable reserve player for the team and although his production is declining his leadership and experience are vital to the Spurs as they look to again contend for the Western Conference crown next season.

With a loaded Western Conference, the Spurs re-signing of Ginobili and the addition of Rudy Gay are looking to maintain their status as one of the West’s elite teams.

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