SAN ANTONIO - With an average roster age of just 24.5 years old, it's no wonder why the Boston Celtics were a bit surprised when 40-year-old guard Manu Ginobili schooled the youngsters at the game he’s played longer than some of the current Celtics have been alive.
Ginobili, who finished with 11 points off the bench, turned back the clock Friday night when he hit the game-winning 3-point pull up shot to help the San Antonio Spurs take down the Celtics, 105-102.
The game-winning 25-footer was one of Ginobili’s two clutch 3s he made that night, with his first coming as a halftime buzzer-beater that helped the Spurs grab their first lead of the game.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he made the mistake of sending high praise to Ginobili before the game and wishes he could take it back if it meant coming out with a win instead of a loss.
“The two plays Manu made at the end of the half and at the end of the game were like vintage Manu,” Stevens said. “I said before the game, he’s probably the best player, one of the best players, at the end of quarters I’ve ever seen. Now I wish I wouldn’t have said it.”
After Ginobili drained the 3-pointer, Stevens called superstar point guard Kyrie Irving’s number to take the final shot in hopes of sending the game into overtime, but Irving failed to nail the 24-footer.
Irving finished the game with 36 points off of 62 percent shooting and 60 percent from beyond the arc.
“I thought it was cash money. I thought it was going to hit the bottom of the net and obviously, I didn’t put enough on it,” Irving said.
Irving, who plays against players half his age when he portrays a 70-year-old man named “Uncle Drew” in Pepsi Max commercials, ironically got a taste of his own “commercial.”
Ginobili's gut-punching performance against the Celtics forced Irving to witness another rare night of what many Spurs players like to say: Manu brought that “Grandpa Juice.”
“Manu hits two bombs, in halftime and for the game-winner. Forty-year-old still impressing everyone,” Irving said.
Celtics small forward Jaylen Brown said he and Irving were actually talking about Ginobili at breakfast Friday morning on how they believe the four-time champ will more than likely become a “first ballot hall-of-famer."
“He (Ginobili) displayed that tonight when his team needed two big shots, one in the first (half) and one in the fourth (quarter), he knocked them down with confidence like he’s done it before,” Brown said.
The Spurs (18-8) travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns (9-18) and look to grab their sixth road win Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
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