NBA notebook: Marc Gasol voted as top NBA defender

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 9:25 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this May 3, 2010 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown screams at his team in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Boston Celtics in the second round of an NBA basketball playoff series in Cleveland. Cleveland officially re-hired Brown on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, bringing back a coach who guided them to five straight playoff appearances and their only trip to the NBA Finals before he was fired following the 2010 season. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

Associated Press

Associated Press

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has won his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year award after anchoring the league's stingiest defense.

Gasol received 212 points and 30 first-place votes to edge Miami's LeBron James, who had 149 points and 18 first-place votes, the NBA announced Wednesday.

"It's a great honor," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "Marc's played well. There's a lot of other guys that are worthy, you know. They saw fit to give Marc the award, and he was deserving."

The 7-foot-1 Spaniard averaged 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals for a Memphis defense that allowed a league-best 88.7 points per game. The five-year veteran ranked 12th in the league in blocks.

Memphis became the first team to hold opponents below 90 points per game in a season since 2005-06 when both the Grizzlies (88.5) and San Antonio (88.8) accomplished the feat.

Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka was third with 122 points and 14 first-place votes. The 28-year-old Gasol becomes the first Grizzlies player to earn defensive player honors, and he did it in a season when he wasn't an All-Star.

CAVS HIRE BROWN: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is hoping he can make up for a major mistake.

Conceding for the first time publicly that he should have never fired Mike Brown as Cleveland's coach three years ago, Gilbert said Wednesday he's thrilled to be able to re-hire the most successful coach in franchise history.

Brown, who led the Cavs to the NBA playoffs in each of his five seasons with the club, has reunited with a team and owner who fired him after Cleveland was eliminated from the 2010 playoffs — not long before LeBron James bolted from Cleveland as a free agent.

"Yeah, it was a mistake. Sure it was a mistake," Gilbert said of his decision to fire Brown, who along with James took the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007.

HAMPERED GARNETT WILL PLAY: Kevin Garnett walked over to the Boston bench, nursing a sore hip and Celtics coach Doc Rivers asked repeatedly if his big man needed a break.

It was going to take more than that to knock Garnett out of the playoffs.

"He's good. He's good to go," Rivers said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "He'll practice tomorrow, and he'll play on Friday."

JOE JOHNSON MAY NOT SUIT UP: Nets guard Joe Johnson might miss Game 3 against Chicago because of a foot injury.

Johnson said Wednesday that he was hurt in the first quarter of the Bulls' 90-82 win Monday that tied the first-round series 1-1. Johnson did not practice Wednesday. Game 3 is Thursday in Chicago.

Johnson scored 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting in 39 minutes in Game 2.

nbanotebookDefensive player of the year

Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd Total

Marc Gasol, Mem 30 16 14 212

LeBron James, Mia 18 15 14 149

Serge Ibaka, OKC 14 15 7 122

Joakim Noah, Chi 13 10 12 107

Tony Allen, Mem 9 15 12 102

Tim Duncan, SA 11 11 6 94

Larry Sanders, Mil 4 18 16 90

Voting is done on a 5-3-1 basis by a panel of 121 sportswriters

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