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Arenas has brought competitive spirit to Grizzlies

The SportsXchange

The Memphis Grizzlies' acquisition of Gilbert Arenas on March 20 is beginning to look like one of the smartest moves in franchise history.

Arenas has played just eight games since being signed off his couch in Orlando, where the Magic cut the 21-points-per-game scorer after last season. But Arenas already is showing he might be the purest outside shooter the Grizzlies have ever had.

In his last four games, he's averaging 11 points off the bench and has hit 10 of 15 threes. In Saturday's 94-89 win over Dallas, he scored 15 points in 17 minutes, hitting 3 of 5 threes and 5 of 5 free throws.

How good of a shooter is Arenas?

"I've seen him go 20-for-20 shooting in practice. You don't want to try to match up and shoot against him," Griz point guard Mike Conley said. "I think he's really rubbed off on a lot of us, made us all very competitive."

How competitive?

"They never beat me," Arenas said with a laugh. "We'll have contests where you have to make three straight jumpers working from five different spots on the floor, starting in one corner and finishing in another. Usually, they are on the second spot when I'm finished."

Conley, who said he shoots threes in games only when he's wide open, said he's surprised when Arenas actually misses a shot.

"I told (injured Griz forward) Darrell (Arthur) today, he (Arenas) is almost like he's in a video game; he's automatic," Conley said. "It's fun to watch when he shoots like that. We need that."

Arenas said his biggest concern about getting back into the NBA this year -- "I didn't think it was going to happen," he said -- was fitting in with a team that had established chemistry.

"But it has been great, because these guys have accepted me," Arenas said. "I realized how much I really missed the game while I was gone. All I was doing every day was taking my kids to school and then going to amusement parks and go-kart tracks with my fiancée."
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