LOS ANGELES -- Much has been made about the Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett match up in the NBA Finals but the two have a history that goes back to their careers with different teams.
When Gasol was with Memphis and Garnett was with the Timberwolves, the two played against each other. In those years, Gasol said he was trying to establish himself against a "great, great player."
Today, Gasol was asked to evaluate himself in the time that has passed and how Garnett's game has changed over the years.
"Well, it's been nine years past, so everybody has grown. For me I understand better the nature of the game here. I grew as far as my body and how do I play the game," Gasol said. "So I could say that I'm a more mature player and more effective now than I was before I was athletic, lanky. I had more explosiveness than I have now, but I was weaker, also, and I wasn't accustomed to the physicality of the league and the amount of games that are played. But little by little I've gotten better, and I've grown to be the player that I am today.
"And also on Kevin's part he's also lost some explosiveness. He's more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he's still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he's going to bring everything he's got. You can count on that."