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The Hustle Report: Recapping week four of the Memphis Hustle’s inaugural season

Marquis Teague proves he’s the key vet of this team

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

Week 4 Results

Salt Lake City Stars 100 @ Memphis Hustle 96 (3-4)

Erie Bayhawks 117 @ Memphis Hustle 112 (3-5)

Memphis Hustle (3-6) 114 @ Agua Caliente Clippers 116

Week 4 Storylines

  • Ivan Rabb & Trahson Burrell return
  • Hustle play at FedExForum
  • Hustle on a 4-game losing skid
  • Jeremy Morgan lost due to injury

Game 7 Breakdown

Oregon State v UCLA
Omari Johnson when he was with the Beavers
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Marquis Teague- 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Ivan Rabb- 15 points, 8 rebounds
  • Omari Johnson- 14 points, 4 rebounds
  • Kobi Simmons- 12 points, 4 assists, 3 steals

With the Grizzlies in Denver, the Hustle got the opportunity to play at FedExForum the day after Thanksgiving, where they dropped the first of three heartbreakers this week. It was an up and down game in which the Hustle struggled down the stretch, a theme for this week. The Hustle were led by Marquis Teague and Ivan Rabb, who made his return from a concussion. Defensively, the Hustle struggled to contain Naz Mitrou-Long and Eric Griffin who combined for 52 of the Stars points giving them their first win of the season. The Hustle also lost Guard Jeremy Morgan for the foreseeable future with a right knee injury that did not look good. It was a disappointing result for the Hustle, but Friday was a fun and cool experience for the team.

Game 8 Breakdown

NCAA Basketball: East Carolina at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats

  • Kobi Simmons- 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block
  • Ivan Rabb- 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
  • Trahson Burrell- 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
  • Marquis Teague- 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists

The Hustled returned to the Landers Center Saturday night where they lost to an Erie BayHawks team without its two leading scorers. It was a very balanced performance from the Hustle, with 7 guys scoring in double digits. Trahson Burrell returned from injury and both Jarell Martin and Vince Hunter were brought down from the Grizzlies. Ultimately, the lack of a go-to scorer down the stretch hurt the Hustle, as the BayHawks were able to rely on the Roscoe Smith & Raphiael Putney duo, who combined for 55 points. Burrell came back from his injury with a vengeance, playing well in all facets of the game. Ultimately, the Hustle’s defensive issues came back to bite them in yet another close loss. GBB’s own Mark King made his first trip down to the Landers Center for this game and documented it here.

Game 9 Breakdown

Pacific v Miami
Durand Scott back in his Miami days
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Marquis Teague- 19 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
  • Austin Nichols- 15 points, 6 rebounds
  • Ivan Rabb- 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
  • Durand Scott- 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block

The Hustle dropped their first game out West against the Agua Caliente Clippers in another close game. Once again, the Hustle had 7 players score in double figures but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 52 combined points of Tyrone Wallace and C.J. Williams. Marquis Teague lead the Hustle, with help from Austin Nichols who showed off his expanded range, going 3-3 from beyond the arc. The Hustle were without the services of Kobi Simmons and Vince Hunter, who would have likely been a huge help in the game. The Hustle will have had two days to review the film and get ready for tonight’s rematch against the Clippers.

MVP of the Week- Marquis Teague

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets

With Ivan Rabb still getting back in rhythm returning from injury, Marquis Teague took charge and lead the team last week. He averaged nearly 17 points a game, 5 rebounds and 6 assists and was a calming presence on the floor. This week showed the flaws the Hustle have when it comes to playing down the stretch in close games, but Teague did his best to be “the guy” in those situations. One of the veterans on the team, Teague has been consistent all season long, and stepped up last week when the Hustle needed him.

Numbers to Know

18.8: Dusty Hannah’s averaged nearly 19 minutes a game this past week for the Hustle after averaging less than 5 minutes per game in the 8 games prior (DNP_CD in two of those games). Part of this is due to Jeremy Morgan being out, and Kobi Simmons not playing Tuesday, but it’s also due to the fact Dusty seems to have found his shooting touch. He averaged over 10 points a game last week, shooting 50% from the field and making 36.4% from beyond the arc. If Dusty keeps his this up, he’ll likely see his minutes increase even more.

71.4%: Austin Nichols, after Tuesday night’s shooting spree, is shooting 71.4% from beyond the arc this season. The number is a little misleading, as he’s shot only 7 attempts and made 5, but the big man has legitimately expanded his range out to the 3 point line. Nichols is still a much better player around the basket, but him developing a shooting stroke allows for Coach Cyprien to get creative with his lineups, potentially allowing Nichols and Rabb to get some playing time together on the court.

-18: The Hustle struggled in close games this past week and it brought to my attention an even bigger problem. The Hustle are being outscored by 18 points total in the second halves of games. The Hustle were outscored by 10 points in the second half of last weeks games. In the grand scheme of things, that number isn’t dooming, but it shows a weakness in Coach Cyp and the team. To win games, it’s important to win the second half, especially the 4th quarter, and the Hustle aren’t doing that.

Week 4 Grade - C

Arkansas v North Carolina Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Hustle played relatively well this week, all things considered. They don’t rely on one player for success, but would likely benefit if Ivan Rabb plays the way he did before his injury. Having a balanced team is great to stay competitive all season, but not having that go to guy down the stretch hurt the Hustle this week. The Hustle are currently on a 4 game losing streak, but every game last week could have gone either way. So although it was an 0-3 week, the competitiveness of the team earns them a C grade.

Week 5 Preview

NCAA Basketball: Utah at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Hustle @ Agua Caliente Clippers (6-4) 11/30 9 PM (Tonight!)

Delaware 87ers (2-8) @ Memphis Hustle 12/2 12 PM

Memphis Hustle @ Oklahoma City Blue (4-6) 12/5 7 PM

The Hustle will try to avenge Tuesday night’s loss to the Clippers when they play again tonight in Ontario, California. The game plan tonight for the Hustle is pretty simple: slow down Tyrone Wallace and C.J. Williams. If those two both score over 20 points a piece, it will be tough for the Hustle to get the win. The Clippers have a talented team, but rely heavily on those two. If the Hustle can slow those two down and stop a player like Brice Johnson or Andre Dawkins from having a breakout game, they should be able to win. The Hustle will also need to avoid foul trouble. The Clippers shot 40 free throws compared to the Hustle’s 18. Limiting the Clippers free throw attempts will be crucial for a Hustle win.

The Hustle will return home from their California road trip to play the Delaware 87ers at the Landers Center on Saturday. After starting the season 0-8, the 87ers are on a 2 game winning streak lead by Christian Wood and Furkan Korkmaz. Emeka Okafor, attempting an NBA comeback, players for the 87ers but he’s a shell of his former self. The Hustle seem to struggle to contain the star players of opposing teams, so the focus needs to be on slowing down Wood and Korkmaz. The 87ers aren’t a great shooting team, 44% overall and 31% from beyond the arc, so the Hustle need to stack the paint and force them to shoot jump shots. Doing so will likely result in a Hustle win.

The Hustle will wrap up a busy week by traveling to Oklahoma City to play the most boring team name in the G-League, the Blue. The team name may be boring, but the Blue are an exciting team to watch with Daniel Hamilton leading the way. The Blue shoot 37 3-pointers a game, cashing in on 13 of them. The Hustle have struggled to defend the 3 point line this season, so they’ll need to step up their perimeter defense on Tuesday. The Hustle shoot a respectable 35% from beyond the arc, but they attempt 15 less shots than the Blue averaging 8 makes a game. If the Hustle get locked into a shootout with the Blue, it might not end well.

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