Tonight the Big Spaniard showed why he’s the most skilled big man in the NBA.
A year or two ago many would have thought that I was speaking of Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol, but the tables have turned toward his younger brother Marc Gasol.
With a back injury hampering Dwight Howard, Gasol has proven that he’s both the best center in the NBA and quite frankly it isn’t close. In a 103-100 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol ended the night with a line of 27 points (on 10-15 shooting), 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and the game-saving block over guard Nick Young.
After going 0-2 in the first quarter, Gasol proceeded to go 10-13 the rest of the way.
Philly attempted to slow down Marc Gasol by starting center Kwame Brown in the second half over Spencer Hawes, but that didn’t work. Playing Brown also made it easier for Gasol to roam freely on defense and help the guards who were struggling against Jrue Holiday, Nick Young and Evan Turner.
The biggest part of Marc Gasol’s game was how he controlled Holiday’s penetration off of pick and roll’s at the end of the game. Though the 76ers scored 100 points (only the third time the Memphis Grizzlies have allowed 100+ points this year), the Grizzlies held them to 67 points in the last 3 quarters of the game and it had a lot to do with the way Gasol controlled the paint and the glass.
His defense hasn’t gone unnoticed this season. CBS Sports had Gasol ranked second in the their Defensive Player of the Year rankings:
2. Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: Probably the best pick and roll big in the league, tough enough to post, quick enough to play in space. A monster.
via Baseline Awards: Sixers’ Jrue Holiday most improved player — by far
Since the cap-shedding trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gasol is averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 56 percent from the field and you can argue that last night’s game against Philly was his best of the bunch.
With the nationally televised game coming up this Thursday against the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder and Mike Conley‘s ankle isn’t completely healed, then they’ll need a repeat performance from Gasol to have a chance at a victory.
Getting more nationwide attention, people are beginning to appreciate Gasol for his overall talent. He’s the best center currently in the NBA and he will be until further notice.