A lot has changed since, of course, from the addition of Durant to no longer emphasizing records to, most notably at the moment, the starts to Game 4s: a 14-0 break from the gate in Portland that became a 28-point head start in the opening quarter while shooting 62.5 percent; a 24-point cushion in the first period in Salt Lake City after needing all of five minutes to build a double-digit advantage; and going up 12 points Monday in San Antonio with the defense that helped limit the Spurs to 29 percent from the field the first 12 minutes. He struggled again, scoring eight points on 4-of-11 shooting in 22 minutes.
With Ginobili completing his 15th season in the National Basketball Association, there has predictably been conjecture over whether this will be his final campaign.
It may have been adios only for this season, but Popovich understood there was a chance it was for forever.
"I'm a Manu Ginobili fan, and when you kind of sense the moment, obviously you don't know what's in his future, but the crowd's going insane for him", Durant said later.
Ginobili won't decide about his future with the Spurs until he has had a few weeks to digest what transpired in his 15 season in silver and black, including how he feels, physically.
"If you allow them to have life and build momentum, you make it a lot more hard on yourself to close it out". "I got nothing but love and respect for him, plus he wear my shoes every year so that's a plus".
"I don't know what I'm going to do". You can swing, sing, swing.
"I don't know if there are many people better than him as individuals", Brown said.
Real Madrid sign Vinicius Junior from Flamengo for reported £38m fee
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And then there's Durant, who not only looks in great shape after his own injury scare, but is peaking at the right time as his chemistry with Curry seemingly improves game by game. This is a Hall of Fame player who allowed me to bring him off the bench for - I can't even remember now - the last decade or something, because it would make us a better team overall.
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"I think our defensive intensity has been incredible", Green said.
There are some, especially Spurs fans here in the Valley, who won't be happy to see such a rematch.
So, too, will his teammates. "An fantastic competitor. I got nothing but love and respect for him".
Popovich ironically placed Ginobili in the starting line-up for game four, a move he said was to honour his time at the Spurs in case he did retire.
As Ginobili, 39, walked through the tunnel to the Spurs locker room amid a chorus of adulation, he kissed his fist and pointed to the sky. "We've got two days off, which is also good as well, but we've got to lock back in and get ready for the next series".