Pau Gasol avoids trash talking with Marc Gasol
The dialogue between the Gasol brothers remains constant throughout the season.
Pau and Marc will usually call or text each other at least every other day, monitoring their progress with the Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, respectively. When the Lakers nearly traded Pau to the Houston Rockets before training camp, Marc remained in Los Angeles to provide support. When the lockout lifted, the two worked out together at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. And, of course, the two were instrumental last summer in Spain's winning the FIBA World Championships.
But when the Lakers (5-4) host the Grizzlies (3-4) on Sunday, the dialogue won't be the same.
"We don't really talk about it," Pau said after Saturday's practice. "We don't talk about the game. We don't talk during the game much. There's not much worth talking about. We're just focused on trying to compete and go at each other when we have the opportunity."
This speaks to the brothers' competitiveness and to the respect they have for each other. Pau vividly remembers that "I'm up" in their teams' matchup, holding a 7-3 edge with the Lakers against the Grizzlies. He also has posted better averages than Marc in those games in points (15.9 to 10.6), shooting percentage (50.4% to 42.4%) and rebounds (10.2 to 9.5). But Memphis beat the Lakers twice last season.
Don't expect the Gasols to talk about that, however, when they continue a tradition in which the brother in the host city treats the other to dinner before or after the game.
"We understand it's painful to lose and painful to lose against a brother," Gasol said. "Even though you might be happy for the winner, you still feel pretty crappy."
Still, Gasol relished the matchup for various reasons.
The NBA career-path set for Pau and Marc link together. The Lakers acquired Pau from Memphis in February 2008 for Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie,Javaris Crittenton, two first-round picks and the rights to Marc, whom the Lakers drafted with a second-round pick in 2007. Meanwhile, Marc played impressive enough to secure a reported four-year, $58 million deal.
The matchup brings inevitable comparisons. Marc's numbers bode similar to Pau's so far this season. Pau leads in points(17.1, 14), shooting percentage (57.3%,56.1) and assists (2.1, 1.7). But Marc surpasses Pau in rebounds (10.3, 8.7), steals (1.4, 0.8) and blocks (2.3, 1.9). Of course, part of this points to Pau taking a backseat to Andrew Bynum's resurgence and Marc's heavier workload because of Zach Randolph's MCL tear in his right knee.
"It’s an interesting matchup and they are similar types of players because they both are very, very skilled," Brown said. "Marc is a little bit, obviously, bigger than him but I’m happy to have Pau."
And then of course there's the sibling connection. As often as they keep in touch, Pau admitted "we don't get to do that much" during the busy NBA season. But when they do before, during and after the game, all the conversations will hardly center on the game itself.
"It’s an amazing opportunity for us to go against each other at a very good stage, at a high stage," Pau said. "We enjoy it. It’s hard for the one who loses, but it is what it is. We enjoy it. We think it’s special. It’s a special time always."
E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]