That loss turned out to be huge. One more win in the regular season would have given the Spurs a chance in a drawing with Chicago to see who would be awarded homecourt advantage if they end up facing each other in the NBA Finals.
Now on Wednesday in the last game of the regular season, Ginobili hurt himself AGAIN trying to draw a foul against Grant Hill, hyperextending his elbow, leaving the game early, and the Spurs losing to another beatable team — Phoenix — that could have given them another victory they needed to gain home court advantage in the Finals, if they make it.
Checkout the video below of the play. At the 1:17 mark, we also show a clip of Ginobili in last season’s playoff series with the Suns where he is once again defended by Grant Hill, but was successful in getting a foul called against Hill on a similar play by flopping a bit. Perhaps Ginobili subliminally felt getting contact from Hill on the perimeter would work again on Wednesday night.
Well, it worked. Hill was called for a foul by referee David Jones (which should have been a no-call), but it came at a potentially high cost to Ginobili and the Spurs. Now Ginobili is doubtful for Game 1 against Memphis this weekend because of an elbow sprain.
Ginobili’s flops are so forceful and risky, he’s not only hurting himself, they are hurting his team.
Sports Illustrated recently released the results of an NBA players’ poll asking anecdotally who the top floppers were in the league. Here’s the list:
1. Anderson Varejao
2. Manu Ginobili
3. Luis Scola
4. Derek Fisher
5. Kevin Martin
6. Shane Battier
7. Jarron Collins
8. Raja Bell
9. Jose Barea
10. Andres Nocioni
11. Reggie Evans
12. Corey Maggette
13. Kobe Bryant
14. Paul Pierce
15. Sasha Vujacic
Regarding Martin at #5, we don’t think he’s a flopper as much as he is an expert in getting guys to jump into the air on his pump fakes, then drawing legitimate contact as he jumps into the air. It’s more of his defenders’ fault than Martin’s.
We loved K-Mart’s response when told about the results of the poll…
“Oh, I wanted No. 1. Just made it because nobody can stay in front of me and guard me and I know the rules of the game. They don’t think it’s a foul, but they don’t stay down on my pump fakes, so it’s an easy call. That’s the reason I made it, because nobody can really guard me. I needed to be up a few spots.”
Because of the thigh contusion he suffered as he jerked his leg up against Marc Gasol trying to draw a foul, Ginobili only played 19 minutes, scored two points, and the Spurs ended up losing the game.
Wouldn’t it have been something if the Spurs had lost home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs by one game, and this loss against a beatable Grizzlies team with Ginobili not playing a complete game being one of the reasons why?
At the 1:05 mark, you can hear it’s not just us saying Ginobili got hurt because of the flop…even the Memphis announcers say it!
Props go to the closest ref nearest to the flop, Jason Phillips (#23), who didn’t call a foul against Gasol when many refs might have been duped by Manu’s antics.