POSTED: Apr 23, 2013 8:51 AM ET
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gregg Popovich can rest easy. Manu Ginobili is just fine.
The San Antonio Spurs' coach was concerned how Ginobili would feel following a day after his team's 91-79 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Ginobili said he is doing just fine, thank you.
"I'm feeling good," he said Monday. "I'm a little tired, of course, playing after such a long time, but I didn't play that much, either. I feel real good."
That's great news for San Antonio entering Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Popovich's concern is understandable. In his 11th season, the Argentine guard has battled leg injuries all season and was playing for the second time following a nine-game absence due to a strained right hamstring.
San Antonio struggled without Ginobili, losing three straight and seven of 10 to close the regular season. He missed every game in that stretch with the exception of the regular-season finale against Minnesota, when he played 12 minutes.
Ginobili played 19 minutes Sunday, going 6 for 13 from the field and 3 for 5 on 3-pointers in scoring 18 points to help the Spurs win the series opener. He helped San Antonio's reserves outscore the Lakers' backups 40-10.
"It's just his basketball IQ," Duncan said. "Just him being on the floor brings a different energy, a different movement to the entire team."
Ginobili scored eight straight points in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter, including a pair of 3s, to extend San Antonio's lead to 70-57.
The scoring outburst surprised Ginobili, who cautioned not to expect much from him offensively in Game 1 after a long layoff.
"I didn't picture myself scoring," Ginobili said. "I pictured myself playing, contributing, getting a couple of assists, steals or something like that, but I didn't think I was going to be able to score much, so I was surprised."
His scoring was critical for San Antonio, which shot 38 percent from the field against Los Angeles. The Spurs were 32 for 85 overall and 7 for 22 on 3s.
"We missed a lot of shots," Duncan said. "I know I missed a ton of open shots that I think I can knock down to give us a couple of extra points. We moved the ball well; we got open shots, it's just about knocking them down."
The Spurs offset their offensive deficiencies by holding the Lakers to 42-percent shooting and forcing 18 turnovers. Los Angeles only had two fast-break points.
"The thing that we can be happy with is our defense," Parker said. "That's why we won the game. We held the Lakers to 79 points, that's great. Offensively, we had a lot of great shots, shots that we used to make, so I'm not really worried about the offense. I'm more worried about the defensive end (and) if we can play the same game, because the whole month of April we were not that good on defense."
The Spurs allowed 97.3 points in their final 10 games of the regular season, but held the Lakers to their third-lowest point total of the season.
Dwight Howard had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Paul Gasol added 16 points and 16 rebounds. Steve Nash scored 16 points and Steve Blake had 12, but no one else had more than six points.
"The Spurs didn't lose many games at home," Nash said. "It's not an easy place to come and win. We played pretty well defensively and not well enough offensively. If we can have a better game in Game 2, we have a chance. I don't want to get too carried away about the position we are in."
The Lakers pulled within four points twice in the third quarter, but were unable to get any closer. Injured star Kobe Bryant, who watched the national broadcast, tweeted that it was a game the Lakers could have stolen.
"Anytime you lose in the playoffs, you feel regret of some sort," Nash said. "But I think our team, where we're at, we want to take the positive and try to move on to Game 2 and have a better performance."
Bryant tweeted throughout the game, stressing the Lakers needed to work the ball more inside. Los Angeles had 40 points in the paint, but Bryant tweeted "Post. Post. Post."
Bryant is out for the season with a torn Achilles.
Ginobili said he considered tweeting while watching the Spurs' games when he was injured, but opted not to.
"It's not my style," Ginobili said. "I thought about it the previous games before the end of the season when I was staying here and my teammates were on the road. Just to give a different view to some fans, I think it could be nice and different, but it depends on every individual what they want to tweet or talk about."