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Memphis Hustle & Lawler fall on Wrestling Night

Jerry’s belt was stolen. A Hustle win was not so much stolen as it was lost.

Memphis Hustle v Sioux Falls Skyforce Photo by Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images

In a game which the Memphis Hustle lived up to its titular suggestion, the team fell to the Oklahoma City Blue by a final score of 116-111, on wrestling night no less.

The Hustle out-rebounded, out-ran, out-assisted, and won the points in the paint battle against the Blue. But the home team shot itself in the foot, turning the ball over 26 times and sending OKC to the charity stripe 37 times for 27 free points. Memphis, for reference, went nine of 16 at the line.

A triumvirate spearheaded the Blue’s effort. Rashawn Thomas scored 20 points (going nine of 10 from the free throw line) with five rebounds and four assists, Bryce Alford registered 20 points and five boards while Markel Brown had 19 despite shooting five of 14 from the floor.

On the losing side, Vince Hunter, Durand Scott, Jordan Crawford, and Trahson Burell were the statistical leaders. Hunter grabbed his second double double in a row with 23 points and 14 rebounds. He was joined by Burrell who had 16 and 16 with six assists, though he had eight turnovers. Crawford scored 19 on five of six shooting from distance while Scott finished with 18 and 8.

The Blue held a 15 point lead at one point in the 3rd quarter, but Burrell brought the Hustle to within seven before the quarter’s end with a couple transition lay-ins. The Hustle led the fast break points category 23-14 as well as points in the paint 46-32.

The Hustle led by just two after two, as Hunter had an excellent quarter. He had seven in the period and finished the half as the game’s leading scorer with 15. Two Blue players scored in double figures: Brown had 14 and Alford had 11. Combined the two shot 10 free throws and the Blue shot 82.4 percent on 17 attempts compared to the Hustle’s 44.4 percent effort on nine attempts. Memphis turned the ball over 13 times to OKC’s five, but amazingly the Hustle bettered the Blue in fast break points.

Additionally, Burrell was beginning to sniff a triple double with eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

After one it was 26-20 in Memphis’ favor. OKC hit just 21.7 percent of their 23 looks, and the Hustle gobbled up those misses. They manhandled the Blue on the boards 18-7. Unsurprisingly, Memphis also dominated in the paint where the discrepancy in scoring was 14-2. yet they only led by six as they gave OKC more opportunities, turning the ball over eight times in the period.

Hunter was active, scoring six points and nabbing eight rebounds. Burrell and Scott both also scored six points. Jeremy Morgan hit a late corner three that got his teammates on the bench pumped. Morgan has missed 17 games this year with a right knee injury and was listed as doubtful for the game. Alford scored six for the Blue on two three’s.

For those wondering about how the wrestling turned out, Jerry “The King” Lawler defeated Johnny Swingers in a preliminary fight for Friday’s Grizzlies wrestling night. HOWEVER, Swingers snuck back in to the ring to steal Lawler’s belt and beat him with it before leaving the arena. He seemed like a bad guy, all in all.

The Hustle will look to get off the snide as it travels to play one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference, the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, Saturday evening. And the Lawler/Swingers feud will be settled Friday as the Grizzlies host the Washington Wizards.