In the battle of the Gasol brothers, Pau Gasol and the Spurs came out on top Wednesday night.
Backed by a double-double performance from Gasol, the Spurs (32-18) beat Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies 108-85 in Memphis.
After leading by as many as eight points, the Spurs went into the second quarter clinging to a
22-21 lead over the Grizzlies.
The Spurs extended their lead throughout the second quarter and headed into halftime up 51-40.
The third quarter was highlighted by two electric dunks from Davis Bertans that led the Spurs into the final frame with a 77-64 lead.
The Spurs largest lead of the night came late in the fourth quarter and the team showed no signs of stopping until the final buzzer.
Gasol led the team with 14 points and 15 rebounds to record his 10th double-double of the season. Also boasting nine assists, Gasol was just shy of a triple-double. He is the first player 37 years or older with more than 10 double-doubles since Tim Duncan in 2015-16, according to the team.
Eight other Spurs also hit double figures for the third time this season, including Dejounte Murray who had a career-high seven assists.
Spurs center Pau Gasol missed out on seeing his good friend and fellow Spaniard Placido Domingo perform Wednesday night in San Antonio, so he made some sweet music of his own in the city where his NBA career began.
Gasol delivered a near triple-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in 33½ minutes to help the Spurs down the Grizzlies 108-85 without All-Star forward and leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge.
“I would have loved to have seen him,” Gasol said of Domingo, the legendary tenor. “It’s not that often that a guy like Placido comes to San Antonio. But I actually saw him last night after our game (against Cleveland). I was able to hang out with him at a restaurant for about 15 minutes before I went to the airport and jumped on the plane. So that was good enough for me.”
The performance placed Gasol in some elite Hall of Fame company. The only other player in NBA history to finish a game with 14 or more points, 15 or more rebounds and nine or more assists at age 37 was Elvin Hayes, who did it in 1984.
It was Gasol’s 10th double-double of the season, making him the first player 37 or older with 10-plus since Tim Duncan did it in 2015-16.
“He’s been a good player for a long time,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s taken care of his body his whole career. He’s intelligent, and when you have those qualities, you are going to be able to play longer.”
Gasol exited the game for good with 5:31 left, one assist shy of his 11th career triple-double and second one of the season.
“It would have been nice to get it,” said Gasol, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the Kings in Sacramento in December.
“Those kind of milestones are nice. But the most important thing is that you helped your team win and you made the right plays. I’m happy with that.”
Playing without Aldridge (rest), Manu Ginobili (thigh), Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) and Rudy Gay (heel), the Spurs improved to 32-18 overall and 12-15 on the road.
The Spurs, who beat the Cavaliers on Tuesday, are 12-10 in back-to-back games this season, including 7-4 in the second games.
For the third time this season, the Spurs finished with eight double-digit scorers: Patty Mills (15), Danny Green (14), Bryn Forbes (14), Tony Parker (12), Davis Bertans (11), Dejounte Murray (11) and Joffrey Lauvergne (10).
“Any back-to-back win is good, especially on the road,” Popovich said. “I’m happy for them. They dug down deep and found some energy to play and did some good work.”
To be fair, Popovich noted that Memphis (17-30) is “missing a million guys.”
“They are really challenged body-wise,” he said. “It’s tough.”
Returning from a one-game absence due to a nagging right wrist injury, Gasol’s big outing came against his brother Marc, who finished with a team-high 18 points.
The elder Gasol played his first six seasons in Memphis before the Grizzlies traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2008.
The Spurs finished with 29 assists, seven more than their season average as they improved to 25-3 this season when scoring 100-plus points.
Murray had a career-high seven assists, further justifying Popovich’s decision to make him the starter at point guard over Parker.
“We had a lot of guys missing, but we also had a lot of guys who stepped up and were professional knowing that we all had to produce,” Murray said.
The Spurs led 51-40 at halftime after leading by as many as 17 points in the second quarter. They matched that cushion in the third quarter before settling for a 77-64 advantage entering the fourth.
Memphis pulled within nine points on a short fadeaway jumper by Dillon Brooks, but the Spurs answered with a finger-roll layup by Kyle Anderson on an assist from Gasol that ignited a 17-6 run that secured the win.
“We shared the ball with 29 assists, had a lot of guys in double figures,” Gasol said. “It just makes me happy and proud of our guys. That’s how I want us to play consistently.”