Pau Gasol went 0-of-6 in 20 minutes of action as the Spurs finished off the Grizzlies in Game 6. The previous game Gasol played just 16 minutes. After Tim Duncan retired last year, the Spurs indicated their intention to keep on rolling by adding the savvy veteran big man Gasol — a probably Hall of Famer — to the lineup. If Gasol isn’t quite Duncan, he brought a reputation for Spurs-type basketball IQ and unselfishness. With a few wrinkles, the Gasol transition has been effective and smooth. A starter at first he found a place coming off the bench and pushing the Spurs dynamic second unit, as the team notched the NBA’s second best record.
But the playoffs have been a little different. Here’s a quick caveat: we know that rule #1 is never ever doubt Gregg Popovich. But Gasol, while his minutes average has been relatively steady (just two less minutes a game), hasn’t been on the floor in some critical moments for the Spurs (notably he sat the overtime period in a Game 4 loss, after being big factor on the offensive glass). During the regular season Gasol averaged 25.4 minutes a game, 12.4 ppg and 7.8 rebounds. In the playoffs through Round 1, he averaged just 6.5 ppg in 23.3 minutes. Against speedy second-round opponent Houston Rockets, if the Spurs are to control tempo Gasol will have to play a crucial role on the boards and in the post. He’ll have to have a bigger impact than he had in Round 1.
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) April 26, 2017