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The Hustle Report: Shaq Buchanan can’t be stopped

The Hustle struggle after Uthoff is signed by the Grizzlies

Salt Lake City Stars v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 17 Results

Salt Lake City Stars 112 @ Memphis Hustle 91 (26-12)

Salt Lake City Stars 113 @ Memphis Hustle 110 (26-13)

Memphis Hustle (26-14) 113 @ Oklahoma City Blue 121

Week 17 Headlines

  • Jarrod Uthoff signs 10-day contract with the Grizzlies
  • Dusty Hannahs waived by Grizzlies

Game 38 Breakdown

Salt Lake City Stars v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Marquis Teague- 19 points, 3 assists
  • Raynere Thornton- 18 points, 6 rebounds
  • Dusty Hannahs- 14 points, 3 rebounds
  • Shaq Buchanan- 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Venky Jois- 12 points, 5 rebounds

The Hustle fell in their first game of the weekend back-to-back against the SLC Stars in a matchup dominated by the Stars in the paint. Without Jarrod Uthoff (NBA Call Up) the Hustle had to start 6’6” Raynere Thornton at center as they tried their best at a Houston Rockets impersonation. It was a valiant effort by the Hustle who ultimately came up short in the second half. You can check out my full recap here.

Game 39 Breakdown

Salt Lake City Stars v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Dusty Hannahs- 24 points
  • Shaq Buchanan- 22 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
  • Marquis Teague- 18 points, 6 assists, 2 blocks
  • Ahmad Caver- 15 points
  • Raynere Thornton- 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals

The Hustle played much better in the second game against the Stars but ultimately came up short in the final minutes of the game. Shaq Buchanan was all over the place, turning in one of his better all-around performances of the season. The Hustle did a better job at crashing the glass this game and Buchanan was a key factor into that. Unfortunately the size advantage was just enough for the Stars to steal a sweep in Southaven.

Game 40 Breakdown

Salt Lake City Stars v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Dusty Hannahs- 29 points, 5 rebounds
  • Marquis Teague- 23 points, 5 assists
  • Shaq Buchanan- 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
  • Raynere Thornton- 10 points, 9 rebounds
  • Ahmad Caver- 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists

The Hustle came up short again as they fall to the OKC Blue in a Wednesday matinee. After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, the Hustle were able to come back and cut the Blue lead to a one possession game midway through the 4th. Unfortunately for the Hustle, their offense stalled out over the last few minutes of the game, allowing the Blue to jump back out to a sizeable lead for the win. It was another game where the Hustle’s core pieces played well, but they didn’t have the depth necessary to come away with the win.

Standings Snapshot

Hustle Stats

Salt Lake City Stars v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

56.3: The Hustle have struggled mightily on the glass in their 3 games since Uthoff being signed by the Grizzlies. Hustle opponents are averaging 56.3 rebounds per game, with 15 of those coming on the offensive end. The Hustle meanwhile are averaging just 42.6 rebounds per game over the stretch. With 6’9” Nino Johnson the largest player the Hustle currently have available, opposing big men have been able to crash the glass. The Hustle will need to get better at attacking the glass as a unit and securing rebounds on the defensive end.

10: The Hustle will start the final stretch of the season this Saturday against the Skyforce. The Hustle are 26-14 through the first 40 games of the season with just 10 games remaining on the schedule. The Hustle trail the Stars by 2 games for first place in the Western Conference, but with a 3.5 game lead over the Austin Spurs the Hustle are still in prime position to get a first round bye in the G-League playoff then host their first ever home playoff game. With 5 of the last 10 at home, be sure to come on out and check out the Hustle.

MVP of the Week - Shaq Buchanan

Salt Lake City Stars vs the Memphis Hustle Photo by Justin Ford/NBAE via Getty Images

Shaq Buchanan was a beast for the Hustle over the past week. Ja Morant’s bounce brother averaged 18.3 points, 13 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals over the 3-game stretch. Buchanan has seemingly stepped up every time the Hustle get low on bodies. As a starter, Shaq is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game and is proving to be one of the Hustles most well-rounded players.

Week 17 Grade - C

Salt Lake City Stars vs the Memphis Hustle Photo by Justin Ford/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard to be super critical on the Hustle for getting swept by the Stars over the weekend. The Stars were at full strength with assignment player Miye Oni and two-way players Jarrell Brantley and Justin Wright-Foreman available along with NBA vet Willie Reed. Meanwhile, the Hustle were without their lone true big man in Jarrod Uthoff as well as two-way players Yuta Watanabe and John Konchar. Simply, there wasn’t much the Hustle could do in their match-up against the Stars. Rounding out the week with an inspired comeback that fell just short against the OKC Blue is enough to knock the grade down a bit but with size still an issue there wasn’t much the Hustle could do.

Week 18 Preview

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

Memphis Hustle @ Sioux Falls Skyforce (19-19) 03/07 7 PM CT

Game 41 Preview:

The Hustle will stay on the road following last night’s game against the Blue and head to South Dakota to face off against the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Hustle will be looking for revenge after the Skyforce destroyed the Hustle in the first game back after the All-Star Break. The Skyforce will likely be without Mychal Mulder (22 points last matchup) as he was signed to a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors. The Skyforce may also be without assignment player KZ Okpala who was called back up by the Miami Heat after the Skyforce game on February 22nd.

Without those two, the Skyforce will be limited offensively with just Jarret Jack and Daryl Macon posing the biggest offensive threat for the Skyforce. If Uthoff is still with the Grizzlies, the Hustle will need to be ready to battle Marcus Lee in the post and not allow him to get another easy double-double.

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