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The Hustle Report: Winning is fun!

Hustle take care of business at home with two key wins

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Week 19 Results

Santa Cruz Warriors 94 @ Memphis Hustle 109 (24-21)

Sioux Falls Skyforce 115 @ Memphis Hustle 126 (25-21)

Week 19 Headlines

  • Justin Tillman out for the year with injury

Game 45 Breakdown

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Yuta Watanabe- 17 points, 11 rebounds
  • Dusty Hannahs- 17 points
  • Jevon Carter- 16 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists
  • Julian Washburn- 15 points, 10 rebounds
  • Doral Moore- 13 points, 10 rebounds

The Hustle picked up a monumental win over the Santa Cruz Warriors last Friday night in the first game of their two-game homestand. The Warriors are one of the G-League’s best and have held the top spot in the Western Conference standings for most of the season. 7 of the 8 Hustle players to play scored in double figures, with every player leaving a positive impact on the game. If the Hustle hold on and make the playoffs, Friday night’s win will be circled on the calendar as one of the key wins of the season.

Game 46 Breakdown

NBA: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats

  • Tyler Dorsey- 27 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
  • Yuta Watanabe- 26 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Jevon Carter- 19 points, 11 assists, 4 steals
  • Tarik Phillip- 15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals
  • Doral Moore- 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks

The Hustle picked up another big win against the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Monday night. It was another balanced scoring effort for the Hustle with 6 players scoring in double figures, let by Tyler Dorsey’s 27 points. The Hustle were able to jump out to a big lead in the first quarter and fought off multiple Skyforce comeback attempts throughout the game. Jevon Carter played the role of facilitator most of the game while Tyler Dorsey fit in seamlessly with his scoring despite the fact he hasn’t even had a practice with the Hustle. You can check out my full recap of the game here.

Hustle Stats

13: As it currently stands, the Hustle will finish their season with their final 13 games coming against teams over .500. Even if the Skyforce fall to under .500, the Hustle’s final 13 games will have been against teams either in the playoffs or competing for a playoff spot. The last time the Hustle played a team with a losing record was over a month ago on February 13th against the Iowa Wolves. Statistically speaking, the Hustle will have spent the final quarter of the season facing off against playoff teams. If this team makes it to the playoffs, they will have definitely earned it.

49.5%: If you follow the Memphis Hustle on twitter you may already know, but Dusty Hannahs is very close to becoming just the second person in G-League history to be in the 50-40-90 club. Dusty is currently shooting 43.2% from beyond the arc and 91.8% from the free throw line. However, Dusty is half a percent shy of shooting 50% from the field. I don’t know the exact numbers Dusty needs to shoot the final 4 games of the season but it will be fun to see if he can join an exclusive group.

MVP of the Week - Yuta Watanabe

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Yuta has been intriguing to watch over the course of the season. A lot of what he does doesn’t always show up in the traditional box score, but watching him play shows you just how big of an impact he has on this Hustle team. Yuta always seems to make the right play at the right team and just makes winning plays. This week Yuta was able to also fill up the box score with a double-double in both games and pacing the Hustle to two key victories. With Tarik Phillip not scoring as much as he had in previous weeks, it was a good time for Yuta to step up offensively this week.

Week 19 Grade - A

The Hustle picking up a win against one of the top teams in the G-League, as well as a win over a team they are competing with for the playoffs gives them in an A in my rule book. After being blown out by the Warriors twice this season, the Hustle stepped up when needed for a critical win over the Warriors. The win over the Skyforce sent them on their 8th straight loss as the team has been decimated with injuries and players leaving over the past month. Still, the Hustle could have easily overlooked the talented Sioux Falls team but didn’t. The win helped cement the Hustle’s place in the playoffs, moving them up to 5th in the standings Monday night while it also could be one of the final daggers in the Skyforce season. Good week for the Hustle.

Week 20 Preview

Western Conference Standings as of 3/13/19

Game 47: Memphis Hustle @ Oklahoma City Blue (30-15) 03/15 7 PM CT

Game 48: Memphis Hustle @ Sioux Falls Skyforce (23-22) 03/17 5 PM CT

Game 49: Memphis Hustle @ Salt Lake City Stars (25-21) 03/19 8 PM CT

The Hustle’s last road trip of the season will be a big one, as it will likely determine if the Hustle clinch a spot in the playoffs or not. As you can see in the graphic above, the Hustle are currently tied with the SLC Stars for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The first match-up is a visit to face off against the Oklahoma City Blue who have quietly joined the Santa Cruz Warriors and Rio Grande Valley Vipers in contention for the top seed in the Western Conference. Led by Scotty Hopson and Bryce Alford, the Blue pack an offensive punch. The Hustle will need guys like Tarik Phillip and Yuta Watanabe to come up big defensively in a game that will very likely be a shootout.

The Hustle will then travel to wrap up their season series with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Skyforce still lead the season series 2-1 due to two early season victories, but with the Skyforce season unraveling the Hustle will need to be ready for a desperation effort from the Skyforce and eliminate them from playoff contention. A win in Sioux Falls won’t come easy, especially depending on who the Hustle have and don’t have available, but a win should be expected in Sioux Falls for the Hustle.

The Hustle will finish their road trip with potentially their biggest game of the season against the SLC Stars. The Hustle and Stars have been battling for playoff position for over a month and the game next Tuesday could determine which team makes the playoffs. If both teams take care of business before Tuesday’s contest, the match-up could still determine which team has to travel to face off against whoever the 3-seed is in a one game playoff. Either way, the game Tuesday will be crucial for the Hustle in regards to the playoffs.

Depending on what the Stars, Skyforce or Agua Caliente Clippers do over the next couple of days, the Hustle have a chance to clinch their first ever playoff appearance over the next 7 days. It will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies continue to send help down to the Hustle to help them in their playoff desires. Regardless, the final 4 games of the season should be quite interesting!

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