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Grizzlies show support for Raptors’ Marc Gasol after reaching NBA Finals

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies, Raptors

Marc Gasol, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies, will certainly be thanking his lucky stars before he takes the floor in the NBA Finals on Thursday night for the Toronto Raptors.

Gasol had spent all of his first 10 seasons in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies, making three All-Star teams and establishing himself as one of the better centers in the league. On Feb. 7, Gasol was dealt to the Toronto Raptors in a move the Raptors hoped would put them over the top in the Eastern Conference.

While Gasol initially struggled to fit in with his new teammates, he has since proven to be a crucial contributor during Toronto’s run to the Finals.

The 34-year-old veteran was spectacular in a double-overtime Game 3 victory that jump-started Toronto’s comeback. Gasol played almost 45 minutes and scored 16 points while adding 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks. He followed up this strong performance in Game 4, scoring 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and five boards.

After the Raptors defeated the Bucks on Saturday night to advance to the Finals, the Grizzlies took some time to show appreciation to their former franchise center:

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley also sent his personal congratulations along to Marc Gasol. Conley had been drafted the year before Gasol arrived in Memphis, and the two proved to be the connection that drove Memphis’ seven playoff appearances in the 10-plus years they spent together:

The Raptors will need Marc Gasol to rebound and clog the lane against a Warriors team that can score from anywhere. Head coach Nick Nurse will likely try to force Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to make plays in the lane, so Gasol must stay out of foul trouble and be at his defensive best. If Gasol plays at a high level on defense, he doesn’t have to be an offensive force to make a difference in the series against Golden State.