PHEONIX, Ariz. -- Manu Ginobili is still the master.
“That’s part of the game,” an accepting Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said after Ginobili held a one-man parade to the free throw line in the Spurs 97-87 win over the Suns Sunday Night.
“That’s why they hang banners,” said Hunter.
This isn’t a commentary on Ginobili’s "flopping" – a craft he’s gained infamy for during a 13-year NBA career. This is a compliment. No player in recent memory has been as adept at contouring, initiating and creating contact as Ginobili.
When it comes to creating an illusion of a foul against an innocent defender, Ginobili is an artist.
Sunday night the Suns PJ Tucker found himself more often than not in Ginobili’s torture chamber as the veteran went to the free throw line 15 times.
Ginobili’s craft gets the calls.
“Until we get that type of respect and earn that type of respect that’s what’s going to happen,” Hunter said. “I don’t make excuses for that. He’s earned those calls.”
Ginobili has long been one of, if not the most, fundamentally sound players in the NBA and his ability to bait a whistle is second to none.
A good defender like Tucker had no chance against Ginobili who spent the night throwing shoulders and elbows into Tucker’s chest only to be the recipient of a favorable whistle.
“Until we get to that level we need to keep challenging him,” said Hunter. “We’ll do that until we get those calls.”
Good luck with that.
While Hollywood’s finest actors celebrated at the Academy Awards Sunday night, the NBA's master thespian was once again displaying his artistry 380 miles east at the US Airways Center.
Bravo Manu Ginobili. Bravo.