SAN ANTONIO -- Before the start of the NBA playoffs, no other player age 40 or older had scored double figures off the bench in a postseason game.
"Of course, the feeling of the last quarter was great because we were all doing good," Ginobili said after scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting to help San Antonio defeat the Warriors 103-90 and force Game 5 on Tuesday in Oakland, California.
"We were all fired up, and we saw we were in a great situation to get that win when we needed it," Ginobili said. "Now, we have a few hours to feel good about this win, and tomorrow, we'll start thinking about Game 5."
Spurs acting coach Ettore Messina tried at first to cloak candor, but he couldn't resist when asked what it meant to coach Ginobili in the playoffs.
"I cannot lie to you," said Messina, who filled in for Gregg Popovich for the second consecutive game as the Spurs coach grieves the death of his wife Erin. "Even if it's awful, because nobody would like to be in this situation for obvious reasons. At the same time, there is a little part of that that moves me to be there with Manu in these playoff games. Really, that's something that pushes you to try to be the best possible helper for him and the team, and don't mess up anything; just help him to have a great game."
Ten of Ginobili's points came in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Spurs trying to hold off a surging Warriors squad. Ginobili hadn't scored 10 points or more in the fourth quarter of a playoff game since 2012. He has now produced 10 points or more over the final six minutes in the postseason on five occasions throughout his storied career.
Ginobili played 25 minutes and drilled a 23-footer with 27.6 seconds remaining to seal the victory and conclude the day's scoring.
"I think he should come back two more years," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I smiled when he made that corner 3 right in front of us at the end of the game. It was just so typical Manu:  years old and 16 points, and hits the clinching 3. He's Manu. That's what he does. I know he's old because he was my teammate, and I'm old as dirt. So, if I played with him, he must be old."
He's accomplished, too.
Ginobili ranks No. 8 on the all-time playoff games list (217) and is among the top 25 postseason scorers ever.
Ginobili is also now one of just three players in NBA history age 40 or older to produce 15 points or more and five assists or more in a playoff contest, joining a list that includes John Stockton and Karl Malone.
"All heart and grit," Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said. "He puts the Spurs on his back in big moments -- fearless."
Ginobili also moved into third in NBA history in postseason 3-pointers, passing Reggie Miller with his 321st career playoff bucket from range. Ray Allen (385) and LeBron James (337) hold the top spots.
"He's the ultimate competitor," said LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored a team-high 22 points for the Spurs. "He makes things happen. He has no quit in him, and he definitely made some big shots tonight and some big plays."
Ginobili admitted that playing with Messina at the helm brought back memories of their days together in the EuroLeague. Messina and Ginobili won a EuroLeague championship in 2001 with Virtus Bologna, and although the coach bemoaned the circumstances that linked them again as head coach and player, both soaked up the latest triumph with reverence.
"At moments, when he talks to the rest of the team or he gets upset and yells at us, a lot of flashbacks," Ginobili said. "Whenever we stop executing the way we should have, his old self comes back. So, it was good to see him coaching on this stage. Good memories."
Four black travel bags designed for toting the team's enormous sneakers lined the hallway just outside the San Antonio Spurs locker room 72 minutes before Sunday's tipoff at the AT&T Center.
Everyone in the sparsely populated pregame locker room was also well-aware that the team's charter flight would leave Monday at noon for the Bay Area, where the Spurs will now face Golden State in Game 5.
So San Antonio fully expected to win Game 4. But the Spurs also understand they're just the third team in the last four years to force a Game 5 with their backs against the wall while facing the Warriors, joining the Houston Rockets (2015 Western Conference finals) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2017 NBA Finals). In those previous instances, Golden State closed out the series in Game 5, winning by an average margin of 11.5 points.
The Spurs entered the game Sunday having shot 24 percent (20-of-83) in the first three contests of this series, before hitting 53.6 percent from range against the Warriors.
"We're not the best shooting team in the league, but we're not that bad either to shoot 20 percent every game," Ginobili said. "Today, we had a good night shooting. We'll see if we can maintain that for next game. There's not much you can do. You try to get the best shots possible, try to find the open teammate. Today, we did."