Manu Ginobili talks his way into playing, despite Pop's rest plan

November 3, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gregg Popovich's plan to rest one of his veterans hit a snag.

Chalk it up to Manu Ginobili's persuasion. Or blame the "bunch of cowards" Popovich has for assistant coaches.

Either way, Ginobili played for the San Antonio Spurs on Monday in their 94-84 victory at New York on the second half of a back-to-back that he was supposed to sit.

Popovich wasn't watching the World Series on Sunday night, when Mets pitcher Matt Harvey talked manager Terry Collins into leaving him in the game. But Popovich faced a similar situation with the 38-year-old Ginobili following a victory in Boston on Sunday afternoon.


"I don't really want to play him much in back-to-backs this year, which is really nothing new," Popovich said. "So we talked about it. I thought we had come to a conclusion. Manu said we hadn't.

"So we played last night or yesterday afternoon, so I said, `Tomorrow's a back-to-back, so you're not going to play.' He said, `Pop, I have to play.'"

Popovich said his six assistant coaches also had agreed to his plan. He occasionally sits his veteran players out of games during busy portions of the schedule for rest purposes.

"So I said, `You go talk to them. I'm tired of talking to you,'" Popovich told the Argentine star.

Ginobili did, during breakfast Monday. When the meeting was over, Ginobili was playing.

"So I've got a bunch of cowards for assistants," Popovich said. "Manu runs the program."

But Popovich added: "I am in charge of minutes, so he'll play like three minutes a half."

Ginobili ended up logging 17 off the bench and scoring seven points. He made a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter after the Knicks had cut San Antonio's lead to four.

"We are in a moment where we are getting to know each other, we are getting the rotation down and I wasn't that banged up," Ginobili said. "I was a little tired of course, we played yesterday and I played more minutes than I expected, but I thought I could help."


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