Manu Ginobili plays coach, draws up Spurs game-winning shot

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Manu Ginobili has notched his first win as a coach. Who cares if it is preseason?

With the Spurs down two to the Clippers and less than 10 seconds on the clock, Gregg Popovich stepped aside and handed the clipboard to Manu Ginobili, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Nobody wants to play overtime in the preseason, so Ginobili drew up a play to win it.

“I didn’t want to call a pick and roll, because I knew it would take too long,” Ginobili said. “And I wanted something for our best shooter. That was Gary [Neal].”

Neal hit an off-balance three with 1.5 seconds left to give the Spurs a 100-99 win in Mexico City, in front of a loud crowd of 18,674.

Why didn’t Ginobili call his own number? He was 1-for-6 shooting on the night, Neal had the hotter hand. That is smart coaching.

NBA returns to Mexico City… with a lot of security

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NBA teams just toured major cities in Europe — London, Barcelona, Milan — while the terror threat was raised. The NBA threw in some extra security.

But that was nothing compared to what the Clippers and Spurs are being told while in Mexico City for a preseason game Tuesday night, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Due to drug-related violence that has hit sections of the country hard, players are being instructed not to even leave their hotels.

“I’m going to try to experience as much of the culture as I can without leaving the hotel room,” [Matt] Bonner said, “because we’re not allowed to.”

Two odd things here. There is violence and danger in our southern neighbor, but mostly in areas near the U.S./Mexico border, not deeper into the country. The violence is about money (isn’t it always?) and control of drug trafficking to feed our national drug appetite. As the Express-News points out, you are about four times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in Washington D.C. than Mexico City.

Secondly, if the NBA has these kinds of concerns, why schedule the game in the first place? Granted the league is trying to grow its Hispanic fan base, but if you go to play a game there then tell your players not to leave the hotel what is the message really being sent?