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- Each team will be without a starting forward. The Bucks’ Carlos Delfino will miss his third straight game with a groin injury. “He’s getting better but he’s not ready yet,” said Bucks coach Scott Skiles, who did say that Delfino will travel for the Bucks’ road game at Washington on Monday. Memphis forward Dante Cunningham rolled his ankle Friday night in a loss at Houston and will not play. “I can’t speak for past that,” said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.
- The Grizzlies are playing their second game in a stretch that will see them play five games in six nights. After Sunday off they’ll play their one set of three games in three nights for the season. Not that Hollins sees that as any worse than the rest of the season. “The whole season has been a grueling stretch,” Hollins said. “I don’t think this one stretch … for the first two months we played every other day or back-to-back. We never had multiple days off until the All-Star break and then we had seven days off. We weren’t playing any games, but I didn’t have the team around me. So we didn’t get a chance to practice much and we still aren’t getting a chance to practice. We’ve added some guys … Zach (Randolph) has come back, we’ve added Gilbert Arenas, but we haven’t had any practice to acclimate them.”
- Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy has been on a tear to the point that Skiles believes he should be in the running for the Sixth Man Award. In his last nine games, Dunleavy has made 26 of 39 3-pointers (66.7 percent) and 55 of 82 (67.1 percent) from the field. “He’s almost always in the right spot,” Skiles said. “If he doesn’t have a shot, he puts it on the deck, he passes it, he makes good basketball plays. He’s in one of those grooves where when his feet are set, that thing is in.” Skiles believes Dunleavy has been one of the best free-agent acquisitions of the season. “I think he’s got to be at the top of the list of off-season acquisitions in the whole league,” Skiles said. “The way he’s playing, he should be in the Sixth Man voting. He should be considered for that.”
- Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan and Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins are both celebrating 35-year anniversaries this spring. Boylan was on the Marquette team that won the NCAA title in 1977, and Hollins was on the Portland Trail Blazers team that won the NBA title. With the Final Four going on this weekend, Boylan said he couldn’t help having memories bubble up. “Every year in March a lot of memories come back just watching games and remembering the kind of feeling you had going through the pressure of the tournament and winning and advancing and keeping it going,” Boylan said. “And then, when it comes to the Final Four, just the excitement of being in that group is great, and then just feeling and believing you can win.” Hollins already has returned to Portland twice this season with the Grizzlies, but he said there hasn’t been any 35-year ceremonies for that team. “I get a nice hand from the crowd when I get introduced, and my number is hanging in the rafters, so all the players know it’s up there,” Hollins said.
– Rick Braun