Coach Gregg Popovich said he would taking no chances after his All-Star sprained his right elbow in the regular-season finale. George Hill will start in Ginobili's place Sunday.
Popovich said Ginobili wasn't happy about the decision. He wouldn't speculate whether Ginobili would be ready for Game 2 on Wednesday.
Ginobili is San Antonio's second-leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points.
The 33-year-old practiced with the Spurs on Saturday, and his teammates had thought Ginobili would likely play.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.