The Hustle wrapped up their mini-series with the Texas Legends tonight following their win on Tuesday. With the Grizzlies in action against the Clippers, the Hustle didn’t have their full force of assignment guys available like they did on Tuesday. Santi Aldama, Sam Merrill and Killian Tillie were with the Grizzlies while Jarrett Culver and Yves Pons were with the Hustle for tonight’s matchup.
The Hustle, despite their win on Tuesday, had plenty to work on Wednesday and in shoot around today ahead of the game. The Hustle will look to take better care of the ball (20 turnovers) while also crashing the defensive boards better (14 offensive rebounds for the Legends). A win would also put them in a good spot through the first 4 games of the Showcase Cup. With the first 12 games being extremely important, a 3-1 opening would be much better than splitting both series to start the season. The Hustle lost Romeo Weems who picked up a wrist injury and was out for tonight’s game. Meanwhile the Legends lost their leading scorer from Tuesday in Carlik Jones who was out as well after injuring his ankle on the final play Tuesday night.
It was a slow start for the Hustle who seemed unorganized on both ends of the court and found themselves down 9 early. The Legends were able to extend their lead up to 16 by the midway point of the quarter thanks in large part to Euguene Omoruyi who shot 4-5 from beyond the arc in the first 7 minutes. The Hustle wouldn’t give up so easy so early in the game, as they used a couple of tough and one finishes to help cut the Legends lead down to just 4 at the end of the first quarter as the Hustle trailed 26-22 after the first 12.
The Legends started the quarter on a 7-2 run before Reggie Hearn really got it going offensively to spark the stagnant Hustle offense. The Legends built their lead back up to double digits by the midway point of the quarter thanks to Euguene Omoruyi who the Hustle failed to contain in the first half. The Legends and Hustle were at a 44-31 stalemate for a good portion of the 2nd quarter before the Legends went on a 7-0 run to take a 20 point lead. The Hustle put a little dent into the Legends lead heading into the halftime break down 53-37.
Eugene Omoruyi killed the Hustle in the first half as he scored 28 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 10-14 from the field and 6-8 from beyond the arc. The Hustle got a spark from Reggie Hearn (12 points) but the rest of the Hustle couldn’t get much going offensively as the offense had no rhythm. The Hustle finished the first half shooting just 1-13 from beyond the arc and committed 11 turnovers to their 6 assists.
The Hustle offense got going a little bit to start the 3rd quarter, but the defense couldn’t get a stop as the teams traded baskets in the first half of the quarter. The Hustle made a small run in the final 5 minutes of the 3rd cutting the Legends lead down to 15. The Hustle couldn’t cut it past the 15 point barrier as the Legends went on a run to extend their lead up to as much as 26 by the end of the quarter. The Hustle found themselves down 88-62 entering the final frame.
The Hustle finally got things going on both ends of the court in the final frame, cutting the 26 point lead down to 16 within the first 4 minutes to keep things interesting. The Hustle run continued as the slowly made their run heading into the final minutes of the game. The Hustle struggled to get it back to a single digit game but did so with just under 3 minutes left in the game. The Hustle comeback effort came up just short as the Legends found just enough offense in the final frame to keep the Hustle from completing the comeback.
The Hustle ultimately fell 115-99 and split the mini-series with the Texas Legends and move to 2-2 on the season. The Hustle will be off for 8 days, with their next game action coming next Friday when they visit the Austin Spurs.