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The Hustle Report: Recapping Week Two of the Memphis Hustle’s inaugural season

Hustle hard, Ivan Rabb.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 Results

Rio Grand Valley Vipers 138 @ Memphis Hustle 136 (1-2)

Memphis Hustle (2-2) 124 @ Canton Charge 117

Week 2 Storylines

  • Debuts of Wayne Selden, Deyonta Davis & Austin Nichols
  • Offense explosion
  • Franchise first road win
  • Rabb continues his dominance

Game 3 Breakdown

NBA: Preseason-Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats

  • Ivan Rabb- 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks
  • Trahson Burrell- 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
  • Vince Hunter- 16 points, 9 rebounds
  • Wayne Selden- 15 points, 5 assists (+17)
  • Deyonta Davis- 15 points, 3 steals

The Hustle dropped a high scoring affair against the Vipers at the hands of a Briante Weber buzzer beater. The Hustle set a single-game season-high for any NBA G League team for field goes in a game (55) but the Vipers hot shooting from 3 ultimately carried them to victory. The Hustle had 7 of their 11 players score in double digits but the defense was lacking. Ivan Rabb continued his low post dominance while Trashon Burrell continued to contribute in all facets of the game. Wayne Selden’s shot was rusty (3-12) but his ability to get to the free-throw line was a solid contribution along with his defense.

Deyonta Davis finished his opportunities around the rim but he still hasn’t shown the aggressiveness to make it in the league and he also seems allergic to rebounding grabbing only 2 in 22 minutes. It was a disappointing loss for the Hustle after leading much of the 2nd half, but staying competitive the first 3 games of the season is a positive sign for the team.

Game 4 Breakdown

NBA: Preseason-Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats

  • Ivan Rabb- 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Omari Johnson- 19 points, 3 rebounds
  • Jeremy Morgan- 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Kobi Simmons- 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
  • Austin Nichols- 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks

The Hustle got their first ever road win in Canton against the Charge thanks in large part to a 37 point 3rd quarter which included a 29-11 run that they never looked back from. It was another high scoring affair for the Hustle with 7 players scoring in double figures again. Rabb has proven to be a double-double machine for the Hustle and Omari Johnson had a breakout game, shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc. The Hustle gave up 117 points to a Charge team that lack much of an offensive punch but improved after the 1st quarter that saw them give up 37 points. The Hustle defense is a point of concern but as long as the Hustle keep getting the balanced offensive production they’ve been getting, they should be just fine. The Hustle played without Vince Hunter tonight, making the win even more impressive.

MVP of the Week- Ivan Rabb

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-California vs Oregon State Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ivan Rabb has proven to be the best Hustle player so far this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s scoring in bunches (and efficiently) while also hauling in rebounds despite his slim frame. Rabb averaged 24.5 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game against the Vipers and Charge. The game against the Charge was especially impressive considering he was matched up against Kendrick Perkins who I thought would bully Rabb a bit down low. Rabb was questioned when drafted by the Grizzlies, but he’s proved doubters wrong with his play in the G League.

Numbers to Know

51: The Hustle were credited with an assist on 51 of their 102 made field goals the last week. Assisting on half of their made baskets shows that the team is scoring at a high level while playing together, compared to other teams who rely heavily on a couple of players. The Hustle seem to complement each other well which has lead to great and entertaining offense. Kobi Simmons and Marquis Teague have done a great job so far at getting everyone involved.

25: The Hustle accumulated 25 steals over the past two games, which has lead to easy fastbreak points. Although defense is a weak point for the team, they do an excellent job at forcing turnovers and turning them into buckets. With every game being close so far this season, getting steals and turning them into easy buckets could the difference in winning and losing for the Hustle.

52.5%: The Hustle shot a combined 52.5% from the field the last two weeks as part of their crazy offense success. Shooting such a high percentage from the field while struggling from deep (less than 25%) means the Hustle are getting and converting good looks at the basket. The Hustle are struggling from deep, but the high shooting percentage shows that they aren’t settling for deep jumpers. If the Hustle can shoot this well from inside the arc, their shooting percentage should only increase once they find their 3 point shot.

Week 2 Grade- A

NBA: Summer League-Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Hustle played great offensively and showed resiliency in the tough loss to the Vipers at the horn and rebounded well for a solid win on the road in Canton. A 2-0 week would’ve been nice, but all things considered Coach Cyprien has to be pleased with how the week went. The Hustle play balanced basketball with every player contributing in different ways throughout the games. They got a little help last Friday from Wayne Selden and Deyonta Davis but they proved they could hold their own without NBA players against the Charge.

Week 3 Preview

Iowa Wolves (1-4) @ Memphis Hustle 11/17 7 PM

Memphis Hustle @ Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2-3) 11/21 7 PM

NCAA Basketball: St. Francis-NY at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Hustle will likely be without NBA help going forward now that Wayne Selden and Ben McLemore are back with the Grizzlies after their rehab assignments with the Hustle. Other than a potential Rabb/Deyonta Davis assignment, the Hustle seem to have their roster set for the foreseeable future.

The Hustle will return home Friday night to play against the Grizzlies ex G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. The Wolves are lead by Elijah Millsaps and Amile Jefferson, who were just announced to have made the 12 man Team USA roster for the FIBA qualifiers.

The Wolves have struggled to start the season and the Hustle should be able to continue their offensive success since the Wolves give up over 115 points a game. If the Hustle can contain either Millsaps or Jefferson, they should be able to put up enough of a defensive effort to win the game.

The Hustle will then travel to Texas with revenge on their minds when they play the Vipers again on Monday. The Vipers are hot after beating both the Hustle and Suns on Briante Weber buzzer-beaters. The Hustle will need to do their best to contain Weber and force other players to score if they want to win. Weber has shown the ability to put the team on his back and lead them to victory. After last week’s shootout, it will be interesting if either team will play better on defense. Whichever team can step up on defense and force a few stops should come away with the win.

The Hustle should be able to build more chemistry together without Grizz players being called up and down. If the roster stays as is for the games this week, look for the Hustle big men (Rabb, Hunter, Johnson, Nichols) to continue their dominance and lead the Hustle to a victory or two.

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