Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol carrying “Grit-‘N’-Grind” era with him to Toronto and NBA Finals

You don’t choose “Grit-‘N’-Grind” it chooses you, and Marc Gasol took it with him to Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Memphis Grizzlies traded Marc Gasol just hours before the trade deadline in early February which meant the “Grit-‘N’-Grind” era was coming to a close in Memphis if it hadn’t already. The Grizzlies rewarded Gasol for his contributions by sending him to a contender and now has the opportunity to compete for a championship. With this opportunity, Gasol hasn’t forgotten about his former teammates and who got him to this point in his career, and he hasn’t forgotten them either.

After the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks to advance to the NBA Finals, Gasol referenced some of his former teammates. “Every teammate that I had in Memphis — Tony, Zach, and Mike especially — they’re in here, too.” I’d say Memphis is still fresh on Gasol’s mind.

The fan support in Memphis is there for Gasol too. With people using #WeTheSouth in support of Gasol and his Raptors. Not only were fans behind him in Game 1 of the Finals but former teammates too.

The Raptors took care of business on Thursday night as they won Game 1 and Gasol scored 20 points with seven rebounds. Gasol was a key contributor and was dominant on the defensive end during the Raptors’ run. He held down the paint and picked the Warriors apart on defense. He outsmarted them which is the only way the Raptors are going to be able to win a series against Golden State.

Golden State is a much better team when you compare who is on the court for both sides. Gasol outsmarted the Warriors and was able to make the right reads to put himself and his teammates in the right position. That’s what he was so great at doing in his time in Memphis. He made smart reads, smart plays and gave players like Mike Conley a chance to shine.

The Raptors are going to have to use what Gasol did on Thursday night and spread it throughout the locker room before Game 2. Gasol is a veteran leader on that team, and that’s what they desperately needed. Now just three games away from winning a championship Gasol has a chance to lead his team on a historic final run and all of Grind City is behind him.