Marc Gasol, the defensive anchor for the Memphis Grizzlies and the fulcrum of their offense out of the elbow, will return to the team’s starting lineup Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Gasol had been out since late November with a sprained MCL in his knee. No surgery was required, it was just a matter of time and rest. Gasol returned to practice this week and felt good enough after the one practice he went through to decide to play Tuesday.
Gasol averaged 16 points and 7.1 assists a game before the injury. He is also last season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year and key to Memphis on that end. Not that Memphis was off to a hot start with him, they were 7-6 to open the season but have gone 10-13 since.
That record leaves Memphis as the 11 seed in the West, 3.5 games out of the playoffs. That’s a lot of work for Gasol and team to do to get back in the mix during the second half of the season — if 47 wins is what you need to make the playoffs in the West (the current pace) Memphis must go 30-16 the rest of the way to make the cut.
Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.
“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.
“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”
I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.
But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.
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