In Game 1 of the Memphis Grizzlies‘ playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers, defense was not a top priority. The Grizzlies surrendered 112 points on Saturday evening, which included a 37-point fourth quarter for the Clippers.
Overall however, the Grizzlies have been one of the most stout defensive teams in the country, so don’t expect Memphis’ struggles on Saturday to duplicate in Game 2. While the defensive effort as a team has been collectively great all season long, the team’s staple point on that end of the floor was none other than Marc Gasol.
According to tweet from Chris Vernon, Gasol is now expected to be named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year here in 2013.
I was just told that Marc Gasol will be named NBA Defensive Player of Year
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) April 22, 2013
Gasol’s number might not necessarily jump out at NBA fans, but his impact speaks volumes for this team. Gasol averaged 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season, which certainly aren’t in the vicinity of league leaders, but it’s his presence which helped shape this Grizzlies squad into one of the more grind-it-out type of teams here in 2013.
Per 100 possessions, the Grizzlies allowed 99.3 points per game with Gasol on the floor. That same statistic reciprocates to 105.9 when Gasol is not on the floor. That number may not necessarily jump off the page, but it speaks for itself. The Grizzlies were one of the best defensive teams in the league this season and Gasol was the main reason why.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS