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It’s been a long, difficult season for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies (18-44) have lost 13 consecutive games headed into a game at San Antonio at AT&T Center on Monday night, there second double-figure skid of the season, having dropped 11 in a row earlier. Memphis has the lowest winning percentage (.290) in the NBA and have the fewest numbers of victories in the league.
Monday’s game will seethe Gasol brothers, Marc (Memphis) and Pau (San Antonio), on opposing sides, but Pau understands why his younger brother is struggling to accept the dismal season of the Grizzlies.
The team has decided to not play Marc in back-to-back games for the remainder of the season, a move of which Marc is not fond, but has accepted.
Pau Gasol understand his younger brother’s frustrations.
“Of course, he’s upset. He should be upset,” Pau said in a story published by the Commercial Appeal. “Any player who competes and cares would be upset. That’s a good sign from a player who cares and is a leader. He’s putting his body on the line and not quitting.”
Pau said he advised his brother to continue his professionalism and to remain mentally strong.
“What I told him is, ‘Do your best. Keep competing.’ That’s the only thing you can control,” Pau said. “You can’t control that one of your best players, Mike Conley, is out for the year. You can’t control that (Chandler) Parsons, one of your biggest signings, has an (injury) issue and so forth.
“All you can control is your effort, your work ethic, your mindset going into games.”
Marc Gasol, 33, a three-time All-Star and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is having a down season compared to his own standards. He’s averaging 17.8, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 blocks in 33.9 minutes in 59 games for the Grizzlies, but is shooting just 41.3 percent from the floor, including only, 32.8 percent from the 3-point line.
A season ago, the 7-foot-1, 255-pound Gasol averaged 19.5 points, shooting 45.9 percent from the field, including 38.8 percent from deep.
He has two seasons left on a maximum-salary deal signed in 2015, including an opt-out clause for the 2019-20 season in which Gasol is scheduled to be paid $25.6 million.
Pau Gasol, 37, who demanded a trade from Memphis in 2007, said he has not attempted to push his brother to follow his lead.
“It got to a point where I felt like I needed to be somewhere else to have a chance to win and be in a franchise that provided me with more consistency, and a shot at winning a championship,” said Pau, a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. “That’s what I wanted at the time. I was 27 years old. Marc is at a different stage.
“Marc has enjoyed the best years of the franchise. They had very good teams. They’ve consistently been a competitive team. Right now, they’re going through a lot of changing with maybe some questionable decisions upstairs.
“It’s been a hard year. No question. Marc is a great professional. He gets upset, but he knows he has to just go out and play.”