It’s hard to believe Marc Gasol just won NBA Defensive Player of the Year with the offensive game he was displaying in Game 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Memphis Grizzlies going cold at time elsewhere — particulary Zach Randolph hitting just 4-for-12 from the field for eight points — the Grizz needed every bit of Gasol’s team-leading 20 points in their 87-81 win over the Thunder in Game 3.
While Gasol only hit 6-for-14 shots, his defensive presence and smart passes to the perimeter were absolutely critical. Not to mention that no one on the Grizzlies who took more than four shots actually topped 50 percent from the field. Throw in Gasol’s 8-for-9 mark from the line and it’s the type of offensive production that makes the difference in this increasingly defensive series.
Gasol’s only major blunder of the game was sliding over late for a blocking foul against Kevin Durant with just under 40 seconds left and the Thunder down four, but Durant went ahead and missed both free throws to boot away the bone Gasol threw. However, Gasol acknowledged that the Grizzlies need to player better in many facets in the game over the remainder of the playoffs, if not just this series.
“Too many boards in the paint,” Gasol told ESPN after Memphis won Game 3 despite being outrebounded 51-44 and struggling against putbacks. “We need to player better.” ESPN’s Twitter account would also tweet the complete obvious and make the same point in their postgame show.