SAN ANTONIO – Marc Gasol has spent years engaged in sibling rivalry. But there’s also such a thing as sibling smarts, which is why he didn’t give big brother Pau a call to gloat after his own bust-out playoff performance in Game 1 against the Spurs on Sunday.
“I knew he did not have a good game,” said the Grizzlies center. “So I knew he wouldn’t be talking a lot.”
But while the four-time Lakers All-Star Pau was struggling to shoot just 2-for-9 and scored just eight points in L.A.’s shocking opening game loss to New Orleans, little brother Marc was helping the Grizzlies get the first playoff win in franchise history, hitting 9-for-10 for 24 points.
The bigger irony is that in the process little brother accomplished what big brother never could. Pau was 0-12 in a dozen playoff games over six seasons with Memphis.
The 23-year-old Marc came to the Grizzlies as part of the multi-player deal that sent Pau to the Lakers in 2008 and over the past three years has turned himself into a solid force in the middle.
Marc is everything that Pau isn’t – hulking, bruising and constantly aggressive.
“He’s a young player who had to keep learning and growing in the league,” said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. “But he also just had to develop confidence in himself out on the floor.”
Now it’s his Grizzlies teammates who have confidence in Gasol. While talking about coming to terms on his new four-year, $66 million contract with the Grizzlies, power forward Zach Randolph said one of the biggest factors in his decision was to continue playing with Gasol.
“Marc is great,” Randolph said. “He has such a high IQ for the game. That’s what I love about him. He’s been playing so long and playing against older guys, because he was playing overseas. I love playing with him. He plays the right way.”
And for a day at least, he was the best Gasol in the NBA playoffs, even if he couldn’t bring himself to tell his big brother.