At 7-foot-1, Marc Gasol isn’t a little anything.
He’s surely not playing like Pau’s little brother.
For the first time since the Gasols have been in the NBA it’s the younger one putting up the better numbers, and that’s a big reason why the Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the league’s pleasant surprises this season. After never averaging even 15 points per game, Marc Gasol is averaging 20.2 through his first 30 games of the 2014-15 campaign.
Pau Gasol, by the way, isn’t exactly slouching, averaging 17.8 points so far this season with the Chicago Bulls.
But it’s little bro with the better average.
”I really dislike the word scorer,” Marc Gasol said after the Grizzlies won in Miami on Saturday night. ”I don’t think you’re a scorer. I think (if) you’re looking and you’re more aggressive … more on-the-go mode, your teammates look for you more.”
He says he doesn’t see a big difference in his game this year.
Maybe he should look at those numbers again.
He’s scored at least 22 points in four consecutive games, the first time that’s happened in his NBA career. He’s scored at least 20 points in 17 of Memphis’ first 30 games, after doing it only eight times in 59 regular-season games a year ago. He’s shooting just over 50 percent, averaging nearly four assists, and getting to the foul line more than ever.
”What the game gives you,” Marc Gasol said, ”you’ve got to take it.”
Right now, it seems like the game is giving him plenty.
Here’s some of what to watch for in the NBA this week:
WIZARDS TESTS: Good luck finding a tougher week for any team this season than what awaits Washington, which should learn plenty about itself over the next seven days. The Wizards play at Houston on Monday, Dallas on Tuesday, Oklahoma City on Friday and San Antonio on Saturday.
RONDO RETURNS: There will likely be a serious ovation in Boston on Friday night when the Dallas Mavericks come to visit. It’ll be Rajon Rondo’s first trip to Boston as an opponent following the trade earlier this month that got the Mavericks one of the game’s elite point guards.
BOSH BACK: After missing eight games with a strained left calf, Chris Bosh expects to return to the Miami Heat lineup this week, possibly as early as Monday night at home against the Orlando Magic.
DURANT’S AVERAGE: Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is averaging 32.3 points in regular-season games in 2014, and will finish with easily the highest average during the calendar year – about five points per game better than LeBron James. Durant’s will be the highest one-year average in regular-season play since Kobe Bryant averaged 34.0 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006.
DUNCAN MILESTONE: San Antonio’s Tim Duncan enters the week with 14,230 rebounds. That puts him within 11 of Walt Bellamy (14,241) for No. 10 on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list.
STAT LINE OF THE WEEK
Kenneth Faried, Denver: This is why the guy is called ”Manimal.” Faried had a 26-point, 25-rebound night against Minnesota on Friday, shooting 11 for 15 from the floor. It was only the sixth instance in the last five seasons of someone finishing with at least 25 points and 25 boards.