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ONE GRIZZLY SCENE
Posted by Rob Peterson on March 15 2004 4:35 p.m. ET

SCARY BEARS

Where were you on January 23, 1998?

If you were one of the 12,359 souls at the Arena in Oakland, you witnessed the then-Vancouver Grizzlies win the 41st game in franchise history, an 88-80 victory over Golden State, nearly 2 years after the franchise played its first game.

It almost took another two years for the Grizzlies to win 41 more when they registered the franchise's 82nd win, a 101-74 triumph against Dallas on Nov. 8, 2000. That's more than five years after the team made its debut.

Why are these seemingly sad milestones of any importance in 2004? We've highlighted them to show you how far the Memphis Grizzlies have come under coach Hubie Brown.

Stephen King seems to have written the Grizzlies less-than-storied history. Yet, everyone is taking notice of the Grizzlies these days and for all the right reasons. For a franchise that took five years to win 82 games, Brown has led the Grizzlies to 41 wins in 66 games this season, the first winning season in franchise history.

And with all due respect to Utah's Jerry Sloan, Milwaukee's Terry Porter, Sacramento's Rick Adelman, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, Indiana's Rick Carlisle and Detroit's Larry Brown -- Hubie Brown for Coach of the Year anyone?
-- Florida Today

Talk about your tremendous upside. Or as this headline notes: Brown a Good Fit For Grizzlies. You could say that.
-- Houston Chronicle

The Grizzlies have gone 26-8 since the calendar flipped to 2004 (nearly surpassing the franchise's win total in its first two seasons -- 29). Just one game behind Dallas for the West's fifth seed and two behind the Lakers for the fourth seed and home-court advantage for the playoffs' first round, the Grizzlies are officially dangerous. And for real, even.
-- Memphis Commercial Appeal, Dallas Morning News (Registration required for both)

They're also officially under the radar in addition to being a curiosity. They use a 10-man rotation and they're the third youngest team in the league.
-- New York Times (Registration required)

Not only that, they bear (get it?) a striking resemblance to the Florida Marlins. (Old coach, young core. Work with me people, this is from the Miami Herald.)
-- Miami Herald

While the Grizzlies may not yet be ready to challenge for a run to the NBA Finals (they have yet to clinch a playoff spot), this recent success has the Grizzlies giddy and with good reason
-- Memphis Commercial Appeal (Registration still required)

SCORING THE...

I watched a lot of basketball this weekend. A lot. And when you get to seeing the same people over and over again, you notice small quirks in their speech.

For one, it's Wis-con-sin, not Wes-con-sin. Wisconsinites, such as myself, bristle when we hear that.

And then there's the one that has insidiously crept into the analysts' vernacular at all levels. For some reason, when analysts talk about scorers these days, they talk about guys who can "score the ball."

The ball? Really? Not the puck? Not the Gatorade jug? Not the Frisbee? Of course they score the ball. What else? Putting the ball in the hole is scoring. It's inherent. Fewer words, people.

62*

Why the asterisk next the number 62 in the subheadline? Well, as great as Tracy McGrady's 62-point performance was against the Wizards on March 10, he could have had more. T-Mac missed nine free throws and 10 of his last 11 shots.
-- Florida Today and NBA.com

(So sue me. I'm greedy. I wanted to see someone score 70.)

"My teammates told me to get 60," McGrady told the Orlando Sentinel. "Then they told me to get 70. ... This was a big night for me personally because it has been a long season. It's been frustrating because I'm a fierce competitor."
-- Orlando Sentinel (Registration required)

And what about 70, Mr. McGrady? Any hopes of pulling that one off?

"It'll happen before I retire," McGrady said.
-- Orlando Sentinel (Registration required)

ESPN.com's Marc Stein has some good stats about McGrady's 62-point game, including that it was the fifth time in NBA history a guy has gone off for 60-plus and had an opponent go for 40-plus. Washington's Gilbert Arenas had 42 in the loss.

Also, T-Mac scored more than four teams have this season. Nice work, Mr. McGrady (and Mr. Stein).
-- ESPN.com

PUTTING THE "D" IN DETROIT

For the fifth consecutive game, the Detroit Pistons held an opponent under 70 points. This is a record for the shot clock era, a record no one had heard of until the Pistons recently broke it.
-- Detroit News

The most recent offenders (offenders as in "it offends me that an NBA team can't score 70 points in a game") were the Allen Iverson-less Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

"We take pride in the fact that it's something that had never been done before, and we feel like it couldn't have happened to a better team," Billups told the Detroit News. "It's not something we talk about in pregame or anything like that, but when we look up in the fourth quarter and the other team is in the 50s, we say, 'OK, let's do it.'"

As far as the Iverson-less state of the Sixers, A.I. decided to sit himself after interim head coach Chris Ford told Iverson he'd have to come in off the bench. That didn't sit well with Iverson, so he decided to, well, sit.
-- Philadelphia Daily News

"A sub is an ocean-going vessel capable of submerging. A sub, in the lexicon of Philadelphia, is the equivalent of a hoagie. A sub, in Allen Iverson's dictionary, is somebody else," wrote Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News.

I'm going to beat Pete Vecsey to the punch. What does A.I. stand for? Artificial Intensity? Absolute Individualism? OK, I'll stop. I'm not hatin' on A.I., but don't bench yourself.

ADIOS, T.B.

At one time, he was one of the best point guards in the NBA (so said Sports Illustrated). And now, after missing the last year-and-a-half with degenerative tissue in his knee, Terrell Brandon has retired.
-- The Oregonian

Brandon's lasting legacy in the NBA will also be off the court. Brandon's mom, Charlotte, started the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players, an influential and important support group that continues to make an impact today.

TIP-INS

Some people love NBA.com. And we love people who love us. So, the first two tip-ins (because I can't tip-dunk) are bon mots to them.

Former Orlando GM John Gabriel reads NBA.com. SI.com's Marty Burns described what Gabriel saw when Gabriel signed on to the internet last Thursday afternoon. (You too should make NBA.com your home page. Just a suggestion.)
-- SI.com

Pete Vecsey loves this game too. We're honored to be a one-time inspiration.
-- New York Post

You can take Shaq out of Orlando, but you can't take the Orlando out of Shaq.
Orlando Sentinel (Registration required)

Is the Chuckster interested in a piece of the Suns?
-- Arizona Republic

Of course, you can ask him yourself. Sir Charles will be chatting on Suns.com on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
-- Suns.com

Barkley can't buy the Hawks. They're off the market. (Finally!)
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

And finally, is it really that black and white?
-- Newark Star-Ledger

"That's right Jason, we have 41 wins and are one game behind Dallas in the Midwest!"
(Joe Murphy
NBAE/Getty Images)

2003-04 ARCHIVE
March 8 -- Sick and Tired
March 1 -- West Side Story
Feb. 24 -- Surfing the Nets
Feb. 17 -- City of Angles
Feb. 13-15 -- All-Star Blog
Feb. 9 -- Git Up, Git Out
Feb. 2 -- Lobbying for L.A.
Jan. 26 -- Midwest is Best
Jan. 19 -- More Central
Jan. 12 -- Grand Central
Jan. 8 -- Starbury Time
Dec. 29 -- American Rookies
Dec. 22 -- The Greatest Gift
Dec. 15 -- Hail the Kings
Dec. 8 -- Spurs Sportsmen
Dec. 1 -- Holiday Exchange
Nov. 24 -- Hive Talkin'
Nov. 17 -- Clip and Save
Nov. 10 -- Short People

BACKCOURT
The week that was:
March 8: Shaq, Lakers tossed
March 10: Arenas goes for 42
March 11: Kings dish 39 dimes
March 12: Old school: 262 pts.

FRONTCOURT
The week that will be:
March 16: Kings at Nets, expect fireworks
March 17: Kings at Wiz, expect personal highs
March 17: Lakers "at" Clippers, Battle of L.A., Part I
March 18: Wolves at Spurs for Midwest supremecy (9:30 ET, TNT)
March 19: Nets at Knicks, Battle of the Hudson
March 19: Clippers "at" Lakers, Battle of L.A., Part II

THE NUMBER
61 -- Shots Kobe Bryant has hoisted in three games after his return from a shoulder injury. He shot 36.1 percent (22 for 61) in those three games.

WEEKLY KERR
My boss likes Steve Kerr's Yahoo! column. I like my job. Here's this week's lin to Steve's piece on ... the allas Mavericks. (No, that's not a typo. Read the piece.)

'ROUND THE GLOBE
Want to know how hoop is being played around this little blue marble?

Seems like Arvydas Sabonis set up his postseason greatness with regular season excellence. Sabonis, playing for BC Zalgris Kaunas of Lithuania, was named regular season Euroleague MVP.
--Euroleague.net

As the site says, "Arvydas Sabonis has shown at age 39 that genius never gets old." And Sabonis isn't just a giant on the court, he's a large contributor to Lithuanian basketball overall.
-- Euroleague.net

Again, if you need your Euroleague fix, tune in to NBA TV every Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and catch the Euroleague Game of the Week.

And our last international item: Will Yao Ming's girlfriend play in the WNBA?
-- Xinhauanet.com

PLAYOFF ROSTER
No one clinched a playoff spot this week. Sacramento looks as if it could be the next team do so, however. Still, one down, 15 to go.

Team -- date clinched
Indiana -- Friday, March 5