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The Hustle Report: Dusty Buckets is NBA bound!

The Hustle win despite losing Dusty Hannahs to the NBA

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 16 Results

Memphis Hustle (26-11) 116 @ Rio Grande Valley Vipers 113

Week 16 Headlines

  • Dusty Hannahs earns a 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies
  • Shorthanded Hustle complete comeback on the road at Vipers and sweep Lone Star State
  • Hustle announce promotion to win flight and tix to Skyhawks game in Atlanta in March

Game 37 Breakdown

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Yuta Watanabe- 27 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Marquis Teague- 22 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds
  • Shaq Buchanan- 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson- 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

The Hustle, down to just 8 available players after Dusty Hannahs was signed by the Grizzlies and with Jarrod Uthoff out with injury, came back from 18 down to steal a win out in Rio Grande. It was an All-Heart type of effort for the Hustle with 4 players logging over 40 minutes of action. The win secured a Texas sweep for the Hustle, who swept the season series against the Vipers, Austin Spurs and Texas Legends (10-0). The Vipers have had a disappointing season after winning the Championship last year, but it was still a major win for the Hustle who were down to just two of their early season rotation players.

The victory is even more convincing when taking in the fact that the Vipers had Isaiah Hartenstein and Chris Clemons on assignment as well as both of their two-ways in Michael Frazier and William Howard.

Standings Snapshot

The Hustle will enter the weekend with a 1 game lead on the Stars

Hustle Stats

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

46.4%: Dusty Hannahs graduates (at least temporarily) to the NBA ranked 3rd in three-point shooting percentage in the G-League, shooting an insane 46.4%. If this is it for Hannahs in the G-League this season, he’ll finish shooting above 40% from beyond the arc for the 3rd straight season, which is insane. Dusty’s evolution as a scorer was obvious this season as he leaves the G-League ranked 13th in points per game where he averaged 21.3 per game. It was a well-deserved call up for the Hustle legend.

19.9: One of the main reasons the Hustle have been able to respond so well despite the roster turnover is the ability to score on the fast break. The Hustle currently average 19.9 fast break points per game, good for 2nd in the G-League. Particularly when the fast break opportunities come off one of the Hustle’s nearly 10 steals per game, it gives them an easy look at the basket or beyond the arc to help the offense get into a rhythm and get easy points. The Hustle’s ability to great easy points and play fast has been critical to their success this season.

MVP of the Week - Yuta Watanabe

Memphis Hustle vs Rio Grande Valley Vipers Photo by Christian Inoferio/NBAE via Getty Images

Yuta was big for the Hustle in their lone game this week, stepping up with a double-double. He was particularly crucial down the stretch, scoring 11 points and picking up 6 rebounds in the 4th quarter alone. With the Hustle down so many players, it was good to see Yuta be the aggressor and take over when the team needed him. Usually passive, the game against the Vipers was a sign of growth for Yuta showing he can take over when he needs to.

Week 16 Grade - A

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

It was a solid week for the Hustle after vastly under-performing last week. They didn’t give up when down 18 and without key guys and instead went on an improbable comeback to maintain a slim lead in the conference standings over the Stars. The team has seemingly recovered from their post All-Star Break hangover and have gotten ready for the stretch run.

Week 17 Preview

Memphis Hustle vs Salt Lake City Stars Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred/NBAE via Getty Images

Salt Lake City Stars (25-12) @ Memphis Hustle 02/28 7 PM CT

Salt Lake City Stars (25-12) @ Memphis Hustle 02/29 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle @ Oklahoma City Blue (18-19) 03/04 11 AM CT

Game 38 & 39 Preview: The Hustle will host arguably their biggest homestand of the season this weekend in Southaven when the Salt Lake City Stars come to town. The Stars have been the Hustle’s main competition for the #1 seed in the Western Conference this season and the home back-to-back is a great opportunity for the Hustle to either create a little separation or make things even more interesting as both teams enter the final stretch of the regular season. The Hustle dropped their first matchup in SLC but they can clinch the season series with a sweep this weekend. The Hustle will likely be without Josh Jackson and Dusty Hannahs this go around, but they should hopefully get Jarrod Uthoff back from injury which should prove quite helpful.

The Hustle will have their work cut out for them on the wing with Miye Oni on assignment and their two way guys in Justin Wright-Foreman and Jarrell Brantley sent down as well. With the Grizzlies dealing with injury woes, it’s likely John Konchar and Yuta Watanabe stay called up by the Grizzlies which will sting a little. Still, the Hustle have proven time and time again this season you can’t count them out even if the odds are against them. If you get priced out of the Lakers/Grizzlies game this weekend, I highly recommend pivoting and heading on down to Southaven for what is sure to be a playoff-like atmosphere.

Game 40 Preview: The Hustle will then travel to OKC to face off against the Blue. The Hustle will be looking for the season series sweep over the Blue, after going 3-0 against them so far this season. The Blue have been mostly inconsistent this season, with DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell their lone consistent offensive threat. The Blue have decent scoring options in Devon Hall, Myke Henry, Abdul Gaddy and Kadeem Jack but those four haven’t typically gotten it going in the same game. As long as the Hustle can build a little bit of depth in the aftermath of Dusty Hannahs’ 10-day contract, they should be ready for an early morning game against the Blue.

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