As everyone in the Milky Way Galaxy knows the Spurs are old. You know it, Zarlox in the Jor-Blorns constellation knows it, Jared Franklin at Infeld Daniels law firm knows it — it’s kind of their thing.

But their other thing is being really good at basketball, turning in 50 wins in a 66-game season and sweeping their first round series with the Jazz. Mixing age and a desire to win can be tough, as Gregg Popovich surely knows. These guys want to win but they also have to preserve themselves for a deep run in the playoffs. It’s tough to balance.

So tough, in fact, that a series-sealing dunk sometimes turns in to a boring, old layup. That’s what happened to Manu Ginobili last night. From the San Antonio Express News:

As Ginobili glided alone toward the basket late in the Spurs’ 87-81 Game 4 victory Monday, no defender within 50 feet of him, Stephen Jackson hoped his teammate recalled the lesson of Game 1.

“The older you get, the more you understand,” Jackson said. “Two points is two points.”

Meaning: No dunks, Manu. Just lay it up. Nice and easy-like. [...]

Ginobili was all alone, much as he had been in Game 1 when he botched a wide-open dunk attempt that opened him to team-wide ridicule for more than a week.

This time, he went for the soft, safe layup.

“I didn’t want to risk anything, really,” Ginobili said.

It’s like they always say — better safe than sorry. When your legs are 68 years old and have failed you a little more than a week ago, sometimes you just have turn the opportunity for a highlight in to an anticlimactic ending to a pretty boring series.

Taking something potentially exciting and making it boring but effective is just classic Spurs. It’s like these guys can’t stop being themselves.