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Grizzlies coach to miss Friday game to attend Maurice Lucas funeral

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns

of the Memphis Grizzlies of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on November 25, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Christian Petersen

Lionel Hollins was a member of the 1977 Portland Trail Blazer team that won the NBA title.

That’s where Hollins met Maurice Lucas, the quintessential power forward who was at the heart of that Portland team. Hollins has remained close to Lucas throughout the years. Lucas passed away this week at the age of 58, losing a battle with cancer.

That’s why he is missing the Grizzlies game Friday against the Suns to attend Lucas’ funeral, as he told the Commercial Appeal.

“It’s very important for me to be there,” Hollins said. “I’m close to his wife and his kids. He’s like a brother to me so I need to be there. I need to have closure as well. It’s hard to accept. He was a good person. I would be kicking myself for a long time if I didn’t go.”

Assistant coach David Joerger will take over the big chair for one game.