'I'm Marc Gasol. I solve problems.' (BDL Illustration)
Marc Gasol didn't have a monster Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, finishing making just five of his 13 field-goal attempts and grabbing a non-eye-popping seven rebounds in 41 minutes. But the burly center was there when the Memphis Grizzlies needed him most, with six of his 10 points — including a huge 19-footer with 27 seconds left — and two of his three blocks coming in the fourth quarter. And run back the tape on Kevin Durant's closing-seconds miss — check out which 7-foot-1 Spaniard is lurking just beyond the restricted area, ready to pounce on a drive and influencing Durant into pulling up.
Gasol's Game 5 numbers might not have been stunning, but his performance throughout the Western Conference semifinals was everything Memphis could have asked for and more — 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 41.9 minutes per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the foul line, and anchoring a withering defense that held Durant and the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder to a paltry 94.3 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would've ranked below the Washington Wizards' league-worst offense during the regular season. He was a star, full stop, on both ends of the floor, and is as big a reason as any why the Grizzlies ousted the West's top seed in five games to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
But he also knows just how good his Grizzlies are, that they were supposed to beat the wounded Thunder, and that Memphis' job isn't done yet. His postgame choice of pop-culture touchstone to illustrate that knowledge was pretty amazing, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne:
Read More »from Marc Gasol isn’t getting ahead of himself, is ‘a big Quentin Tarantino fan,’ apparently