Starting back in 2011, the team made its first playoff appearance in half a decade and made an improbable run into postseason. That year, the Grizzlies won their first playoff game and ultimately their first playoff series in franchise history.
In 2012, the Grizzlies made history again by finishing with their highest winning percentage in ever and gaining home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time. Then last season, they outdid themselves again by posting an even higher winning percentage than the 2012 season and reaching the NBA Western Conference finals for the first time. However, over this three-year "Cinderella story" run, there are two firsts that have eluded the Memphis Grizzlies.
Perhaps most notably absent from the record books, Memphis has yet to win a game in a conference finals series. This is thanks to the San Antonio Spurs, who swept the Grizzlies in the conference finals last season. Oddly enough, it will be against the same San Antonio Spurs that the Memphis Grizzlies will have a chance to make history on Wednesday night.
So what exactly is the second milestone that Memphis will have the opportunity to reach with its 2013/2014 season opener? Winning a season opener. Yes, you read that correctly. The Memphis Grizzlies have lost the first night of the regular season for 12 years in a row. Now given, the franchise has won a season debut game in the past, but that was way back when they were known as the Vancouver Grizzlies. Memphians have yet to experience such jubilation.
This may seem like a meaningless milestone to some, but it may prove to be important down the line. In the incredibly competitive Western Conference, one win can mean the difference when it comes to playoff positioning and possibly even home-court advantage. For example, in the 2012 season, the Memphis Grizzlies missed out on the third seed in the conference because of one game (via a tiebreaker situation).
For many Memphis fans, this is unfinished business. Despite three history-making years in a row, the Grizzlies have yet to start off a season on the right foot. Not to mention that accomplishing this milestone against the rival San Antonio Spurs would be wonderful.
Having the Grizzlies' most successful season in franchise history ended with a sweep by the Spurs was an incredibly painful experience. Being able to change the Memphis-era opening night record to 1-12 against San Antonio would certainly be sweet revenge -- well, at least until the 2014 NBA playoffs arrive.
Nicholas Naveiras is a lifelong Memphian, college student, and diehard Memphis Grizzlies follower. He has followed the franchise's on- and off-court progress since 2001.
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