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ONE GRIZZLY SCENE
Posted by Rob Peterson on March 15 2004 4:35 p.m. ET
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 2½ 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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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