Clearly, Manu Ginobili is just too good to miss free throws.
The San Antonio Spurs veteran botched an intentional free throw miss in crunch time on Wednesday night, making the bucket after trying to give his team a rebound chance on a hard miss.
Trailing the Portland Trail Blazers by three late, Ginobili was fouled by Jusuf Nurkic with 2.5 seconds left. Shooting two, Ginobili missed the first. That meant he definitely had to miss the second so the Spurs could rebound and try a desperation three for the tie.
“Teams practice this all the time,” the ESPN broadcast crew assured viewers just before it was botched horribly.
Ginobili’s hard shot hit the square but bounced down and bounced off the front of the rim, lofting into the air with a ton of backspin, then hit the back of the rim and fell in for the single point.
Ginobili couldn’t believe the shot fell. Neither could the Spurs bench.
Making that shot essentially ended the game. Atlanta took the inbound and Damian Lillard was fouled by MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. Lillard made both free throws to put the game out of reach and that was that. Spurs lose, 110-106. Ginobili had seven points in 20 minutes off the bench for the Spurs, but maybe Pop would have preferred another player take that shot. Plenty of benchwarmers can miss free throws in the clutch, right?
The good news from this one for the Spurs is that Lamarcus Aldridge played and had 19 points in the loss. He was declared out indefinitely with a heart issue just a few days ago, so it’s good to see him back out there. It’s the little things, sometimes.