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Memphis Grizzlies’ Gasol Beats LeBron James as Top NBA Defender

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was named the National Basketball Association’s Defensive Player of the Year, topping LeBron James of the Miami Heat.

Gasol received 30 first-place votes from a panel of 121 media members for 212 of a possible 1,089 points, beating three-time league Most Valuable Player James, who garnered 149 points and 18 first-place votes, the NBA said in a news release.

The 28-year-old Gasol is the first Grizzlies player to win the award. At 7-foot-1 (2.16 meters), he averaged 1.7 blocks per game and one steal per contest to lead a Grizzlies’ defense that allowed an NBA-low 88.7 points per game during the regular season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka finished third in voting with 122 points. The Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah was fourth, the Grizzlies’ Tony Allen fifth and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan sixth.

Tyson Chandler, the New York Knicks’ center who last season ended Dwight Howard’s three-year run winning the award, finished 13th in voting, while Howard was 14th.

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