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May 26, 2005

20-Second Timeout: Manu The X Factor

Let's be honest..we haven't seen anybody quite like him before.

Whether he's stripping the ball from an opponent from behind, banking in a runner from half court, slicing through a crevice-sized opening in the lane, or just picking himself up off the floor after getting leveled by an opposing big man, Manu Ginobili does everything with a flair, an unorthodox series of twists and turns.

It’s almost like riding “The Rattler” at Six Flags Fiesta Texas…it’s scary but you want to get on anyway. After the Game 2 Western Conference finals win in Phoenix, Manu's teammates were signing his praises, including veteran Robert Horry, who picked out Ginobili's sharp passes that create opportunities for teammates. “Robert came to my ear and told me that he was going to be open in the corner,” said Manu, “He told me he was gong to be open there and I just looked for him. We know how good he has done on those shots, so I just trusted him."

“He (Ginobili) has been great for us especially against these guys,” said Tim Duncan. “His ability to slash to the basket and start finding people and making plays, he's been like that throughout the whole series, especially against these guys all year long. Who better to put it in his hands, give him some space, let him draw fouls, make shots. He's so creative with that and that's where we want him.” Manu has been a winner his whole life, from Bahia Blanca to Reggio Calabria, to San Antonio, to Athens. Opposing teams around the globe are still trying to figure out how to stop him.

Those of us loyal to the silver and black are glad it’s THEIR problem.