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The Hustle Report: Recapping Week 14 of the Hustle’s Inaugural Season

Hustle road trip is highlighted by comeback efforts

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 14 Results

Memphis Hustle (14-20) 120 @ Austin Spurs 115

Memphis Hustle (15-20) 104 @ Wisconsin Herd 85

Memphis Hustle (15-21) 98 @ Iowa Wolves 109

Week 14 Storylines

Game 34 Breakdown

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Trahson Burrell- 21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Omari Johnson- 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Chance Comanche- 13 points, 13 rebounds
  • Kobi Simmons- 13 points, 2 assists
  • Jeremy Morgan- 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

The Hustle had a quick turnaround from their buzzer beater over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, with a matchup set against the Western Conference leading Austin Spurs the following night. The first half showed a Hustle team that was still recovering from the previous night’s game, being down 22 points at one point. However, a 3rd quarter run closed the gap and the Hustle eventually grabbed the lead with a few seconds left in the quarter. The Hustle held onto the lead for most of the 4th quarter, and two Jeremy Morgan 3’s put the lead out of reach for the Spurs. Trahson Burrell lead the Hustle with his all around play, while Omari Johnson got back into his rhythm offensively. It was a good win for the Hustle, sweeping the back-to-back with the Spurs and Vipers who had a combined 40-26 record at the time.

Game 35 Breakdown

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Marquis Teague- 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Austin Nichols- 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Trahson Burrell- 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
  • Omari Johnson- 13 points, 7 rebounds
  • Durand Scott- 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals

The Hustle followed up their game against the Spurs with another comeback against the Wisconsin Herd. After being down as much as 24 points in the first half, the Hustle clamped down on defense and ran away with the game in the 4th quarter after closing the gap in the 3rd. The Hustle limited the Herd to only 7 4th quarter points and 24 second half points total, both franchise record. The 19 point victory was the largest win the Hustle have had this season, as in previous games they’ve allowed teams to come back and make it close. The Hustle run and win were fueled by another great Marquis Teague performance, as well as solid contributions from former Memphis Tigers Austin Nichols and Trahson Burrell.

Game 36 Breakdown

G-League Showcase - Memphis Hustle v Maine Red Claws Photo by A.J. Messier/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Omari Johnson- 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
  • Shaquille Thomas- 22 points, 7 rebounds
  • Marquis Teague- 12 points, 5 assists
  • Durand Scott- 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Dusty Hannahs- 9 points, 3 rebounds

The Hustle nearly completed their fourth straight comeback but eventually fell to the Iowa Wolves by 11 points. The Hustle were down 41-19 and were able to cut that lead to 6 midway through the 4th quarter, but weren’t able to complete the comeback. Omari Johnson played well and Shaq Thomas set a career high with his 22 points. The Hustle were without guard Kobi Simmons, who sat the game out with a foot injury. The Wolves were lead by their stars Elijah Millsap and Amile Jefferson who combined for 47 points. The loss gave the Wolves the 3-1 season series win and extended their division lead over the last place Hustle to 5 games.

MVP of the Week - Omari Johnson

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

MVP was a tough call this week as no player took control of every game. However, Omari Johnson was the most consistent and it was good to see him play well after being lost with injury for a few weeks. On the week Omari averaged 19.3 points, 6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and almost a block a game. Omari really stepped it up on the offensive end shooting an efficient 43.5% from the field (38.5% from 3). If Omari can step back into the role he was in before he got hurt, he’ll help take the pressure off the Hustle guards on the perimeter.

Numbers to Know

17.7: Turnovers seem to be an issue every game the Hustle lose. In the two wins, the Hustle only turned the ball over a total of 18 times, while turning the ball over 17 total times in their loss to the Wolves. On the season, the Hustle average 17.7 turnovers in games they lose, compared to the 14.9 turnovers in their wins. That isn’t a huge gap, but even a few turnovers could be the difference in a comeback win and a comeback falling just short, like we saw this past week.

19: Like previously mentioned, the Hustle win over the Wisconsin Herd by 19 points was the most by the team this season. The Hustle have held larger leads in the 4th, but have allowed opposing teams to make comeback efforts of their own to keep the game close and make fans sweat it out. It was good to see the Hustle come back from 22 down and then extend their lead and take control of the game against a good Herd squad without allowing a the Herd to get back into the game.

12.5: New Hustle guard J.J. Frazier had a great career at the University of Georgia, averaging 12.5 points, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals over his 4 years in Athens. During his senior season, Frazier averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Frazier will bring a solid offensive game to the Hustle as well as tenacious defense. The knock on Frazier coming out of college was his height as he is only 5’10’’. It will be interesting to see if Frazier sticks with the Hustle or only last a few games like Jerome Seagears did.

Week 14 Grade - A

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

It feels a little weird giving the Hustle an A in a week in which they saw deficits of 22, 24, and 26 points. The ability to brush off the rough starts, though, and come back is a testament to the resiliency of this team as well as Coach Cyprien’s ability to make adjustments. Of course, the counter argument to that could be the team doesn’t come out ready to play from the jump and Coach Cyp doesn’t prepare well for games. My personal opinion, however, is that the team takes longer to get into a rhythm because the rotation changes every game due to players being called up or down with the Grizzlies, as well as the pesky injuries the Hustle have had lately. At the end of the day, the team makes the best out of what they have available to them.

Week 15 Preview

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

Agua Caliente Clippers (17-20) @ Memphis Hustle 2/9 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle @ Grand Rapids Drive (18-18) 2/11 12 Noon CT

Memphis Hustle @ Sioux Falls SkyForce (17-17) 2/13 6:30 PM CT

Game 37 Preview: The Hustle will return home for a one-game home stand to face off against the Agua Caliente Clippers tomorrow night. After a solid start to the season, the Clippers have cooled off in 2018 as Tyrone Wallace has spent more time with the NBA squad and left a huge scoring void for the G-League squad. J.J. O’Brien and James Michael McAdoo have done their best to fill in the points previously provided by Wallace, but neither player is the scoring machine Wallace is. The Clippers are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league percentage wise, so look for Coach Cyprien to pack the paint and force the Clippers to try and beat them from beyond the arc. The Hustle defense should be able to step up and contain the offensively challenged Clippers team and come away with the victory on their home floor.

Game 38 Preview: After the lone game at the Landers Center, the Hustle will pack it up and head to Grand Rapids, Michigan to face off against the Drive for the only time this season. The Drive are lead by Jamel Morris and recently acquired Kay Felder but are a well-rounded team. The Drive aren’t a high-scoring team since they don’t really have many players capable of going off for big scoring games, so if the Hustle defense can lock in they’ll have a chance to grab the win. Both teams are great rebounding teams, so the winner of the rebounding battle will likely win the game.

Game 39 Preview: The Hustle will then travel to Sioux Falls to try and take the 2-1 season series league against the division rival SkyForce. Alabama alumni Tony Mitchell & Alonzo Gee will look to get redemption from the blowout loss the Hustle gave them on Christmas day. The SkyForce are similar to the Hustle as both teams aren’t great on the defensive end but can put up points in a hurry. This game has the chance to be a shootout that could go either way. Both teams are great shot blocking teams, so whichever team can block, or alter, the most shots may come out on top.