Ginobili scored 34 points and added a career-high 15 rebounds, leading the Spurs to a 93-88 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
“I always try to play like this, but sometimes you can’t—it doesn’t happen,” Ginobli said. “You don’t make shots, you don’t feel as good. Today the shot was feeling great, so I tried to use it.”
Ginobili’s effort gave the Spurs their fifth win in six games. Their only defeat in that span was a 98-90 loss at Boston on Sunday.
“The second day of a back-to-back is always tough,” Ginobili said. “(Sunday) we had a loss that hurt, so it was very important for us to get this win.”
San Antonio has lost back-to-back road games just twice this season. Their longest losing streak of the year was a three-game skid from Jan. 26-29.
Ginobili finished with six assists and made a season-high 13 field goals.
“When somebody is on like Manu, there’s almost nothing you can do,” Popovich said. “He played an all-around game.”
Tim Duncan added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who never trailed and were able to withstand a fourth-quarter rally.
“Manu stepped up and carried us over the hump,” Duncan said. “His rebounds were an absolute bonus for us. He was great on the boards tonight.”
Ginobili had 21 points in 19 first-half minutes, scored three more in the third, then helped put the game away with 10 in the fourth.
“He can do everything,” Toronto’s Carlos Delfino said. “He can drive, he can rebound and he makes passes. They know how to use him and he has responded.”
Ginobili’s biggest rebound came in the final 20 seconds when he rebounded his own miss and was fouled with the Spurs clinging to a three-point lead.
“He shot the ball, so he was the first to know where it was going and he went right to it,” Duncan said.
Ginobili said good fortune helped his rebound total.
“It’s the first time, probably in my life, that I got 15 boards,” he said. “But it’s not anything to be so proud of. They just bounced my way, that’s it.”
San Antonio has won 10 of its past 12 against Toronto.
The Spurs led 68-56 at 2:41 of the third, but didn’t score again in the quarter, allowing Toronto to cut the gap to 68-60 at the start of the fourth. San Antonio called a timeout after a jumper by Jason Kapono made it 70-66 with 10:38 remaining.
Duncan and Jacque Vaughn returned for the Spurs, who scored nine of the next 11 points to lead 79-68 at 7:44. But Toronto closed again, with 3-pointers from Calderon and Delfino and a layup by Rasho Nesterovic making it 87-84 with 3:32 left.
Bosh made it 91-88 on a jumper from the top of the key with 1:20 left, but missed an almost identical shot 45 seconds later that would have made it a one-point game.
Toronto, whose previous three games were against last-place opponents (Miami, the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota), struggled early against the defending NBA champions.
The Raptors missed their first six shots and didn’t score until a jumper from Jamario Moon at 8:33. San Antonio led by as many as 12 in the first and pushed its lead to 18, at 53-35, on a second-quarter basket by Ginobili.
“The first quarter kind of messed up us,” Bosh said. “We didn’t establish the tempo like we need to.”
Toronto’s hopes took a hit when Bosh limped off midway through the first after injuring his right knee in a knee-on-knee collision with Vaughn. Bosh, who returned three minutes later wearing a black wrap on his knee, said he expects to play Wednesday against New Jersey.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a little sore in the morning,” Bosh said. “I bumped it pretty good.”
Raptors guard T.J. Ford played eight minutes in the first half, but was kept on the bench in the second because of a sore right wrist. Ford returned Feb. 4 after missing 24 games because of neck and arm pain, the result of a Dec. 11 fall at Atlanta.
Ginobili scored 37 points in consecutive games, against Dallas on Dec. 5 and against Utah on Dec. 7. … Raptors coach Sam Mitchell left the team Monday and flew home to Atlanta following the death of his father-in-law. He’s not expected back until after the All-Star break. Mike Evans served as head coach Monday and Jay Triano will be the head coach Wednesday. … San Antonio outrebounded Toronto 16-4 in the first quarter. … The Spurs wrap up a season-high nine-game road trip at Cleveland on Wednesday.