One rookie mistake proved costly in Spurs’ thrilling win over the Celtics

Sombum Im/USA Today Sports

SAN ANTONIO -- On the game-winning possession of the Spurs' thrilling 105-102 win over the Celtics on Friday night, the visitors executed almost flawlessly on the defensive end. Don't take my word for it, just listen to Manu Ginobili, who hit the game-winning 3-point jumper with five seconds remaining over Al Horford.

"I just saw the replay and Horford contested great, I gave him a little more air, shot it higher as it just went in," said Ginobili. "I think I got even a little lucky because it's not my usual shot, I had to shoot it higher."

Horford is one of the best defensive bigs in the league at contesting 3-point jumpers and he was ready for the switch after LaMarcus Aldridge set the high screen. Jayson Tatum knew Ginobili wants to go right and he properly overplayed him that way before hugging Aldridge to prevent a roll after the screen. Ginobili saw the split second opening and took advantage. Great offense beat great defense.

"We did a great job of guarding him," Brad Stevens declared. "Al went out and challenged high. Jayson tried to push him over the screen and kept him in his hand, and then Al challenged that. That's hat tip to Ginobili. That's all that is. That's great defense."

The problem for the Celtics on the Spurs' game-winning possession? Ginobili should have never had a chance at the game-winner in the first place.