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The Hustle Report: Showing out for the Showcase

Hustle head into a crucial stretch for the Showcase Cup

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Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 3 Results

Austin Spurs 94 vs. Memphis Hustle 103 (3-2)

Austin Spurs 78 vs. Memphis Hustle 108 (4-2)

Lakeland Magic 118 at Memphis Hustle 97 (4-3)

Lakeland Magic 119 at Memphis Hustle 100 (4-4)

Rio Grande Valley Vipers 92 at Memphis Hustle 116 (5-4)

Week 3 Headlines

  • David Stockton makes season debut
  • Hustle sign Cameron Young with Injury Exception from Romeo Weems injury

Game 5 Breakdown

Key Stats

  • Shaq Buchanan- 23 points, 6 rebounds
  • Matt Hurt- 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Ahmad Caver- 19 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists
  • Yves Pons- 18 points, 6 rebounds

The Hustle, down to just 8 players due to multiple injuries, dominated the Spurs in their first true road game of the season. The Hustle jumped out to an early lead and led by as much as 25 before the final quarter of the game. The Hustle players seemed to run out of energy in the 4th as the Spurs outscored them 21-11 in the quarter but the Hustle were able to hold on for the comfortable win.

Game 6 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Austin Spurs Photo by Olivia Ramirez/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Freddie Gillespie- 21 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals
  • Shaq Buchanan- 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 18 points, 11 assists, 4 steals
  • Matt Hurt- 17 points, 9 rebounds
  • Yves Pons- 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Reggie Hearn- 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals

The Hustle were once again down to just 8 available players in the second game of their mini-series against the Austin Spurs but it didn’t matter as they dominated from the jump with a 30-18 first quarter. The Hustle led by as many as 31 before winning 108-78. It was a dominant effort by the Hustle who had 6 of their 8 players score in double figures in the second game of the back-to-back. It was an impressive showing by the Hustle to keep the energy and strong showing up for all 4 quarters after losing steam in the 4th quarter the prior night.

Game 7 Breakdown

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Shaq Buchanan- 28 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 26 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Matt Hurt- 16 points, 4 rebounds
  • David Stockton- 14 points, 2 steals
  • Yves Pons- 7 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals

The Hustle were dominated by the defending G League Champion Lakeland Magic thanks to 40 points from BJ Johnson. The Hustle played just 7 players and found themselves down double digits by the end of the first as the offense struggled to get things going. The shorthanded Hustle didn’t have enough firepower to combat BJ Johnson and the Magic, even with David Stockton making his season debut

Game 8 Breakdown

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Shaq Buchanan- 31 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 18 points, 9 assists
  • Freddie Gillespie- 13 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals
  • Matt Hurt- 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks

The Hustle dropped the second game in their mini-series against the Lakeland Magic, again in blowout fashion. BJ Johnson didn’t score 40, but his 24 points were enough to pace the Magic to the win. The Hustle were once again down to just 8 players and didn’t have enough going offensively to battle against a solid Magic team.

Game 9 Breakdown

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Jarrett Culver- 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks
  • Ahmad Caver- 17 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
  • Reggie Hearn- 17 points
  • Shaq Buchanan- 16 points, 3 blocks
  • Freddie Gillespie- 8 points, 19 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks

The Hustle dominated the first game of their mini-series against the RGV Vipers thanks to a great defensive effort. They held the Vipers to just 92 points and some terrible shooting percentages. They had 5 guys score in double-figures and Freddie Gillespie tied Jarrod Uthoff for a franchise high 19 rebounds. You can read my full recap here.

Hustle Stats

34.9%: The Hustle shoot nearly 35% from beyond the arc in their wins while shooting just 24.1% in their losses. 34.9% would put the Hustle in the top 10 in the G League while the 24.1% would be a whole 5 percentage points lower than the league worst. The Hustle attempt roughly 37 triples a game, win or loss, so they’re pretty reliant on making those 3-point shots to get the win.

MVP of the Week - Shaq Buchanan & Ahmad Caver

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Since it’s my Report I get to cheat and choose two people for MVP of the Week. Both Shaq and Ahmad had excellent weeks for the Hustle as they went 3-2 while being mostly shorthanded. Shaq averaged 23.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2 steals per game while Caver averaged 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Jason March put it best after the game last night in stating that both Buchanan and Caver are “the heart and soul” of what the Hustle do. With the Grizzlies lengthy injury report (and the Hustle injuries piling on) the Hustle haven’t had the benefit of the assignment guys like expected to start the season. That hasn’t stopped either Buchanan or Caver from playing their butts off every night to lead the Hustle. Choosing between the two would just be unfair.

Week 3 Grade - B

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

3-2 isn’t the best week record wise but it was a really good two weeks overall since the last Hustle Report. The Hustle dominated the Austin Spurs on the road, and although the 2 losses against the Magic were bad the Hustle responded with a dominant effort against the team with the best record in the G League. It’s hard knowing who is going to be available each night for the Hustle but regardless Jason March has this team prepared for the challenges.

Week 4 Preview

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Rio Grande Valley Vipers (8-1) @ Memphis Hustle 12/9 7:00 PM CT

Birmingham Squadron (3-5) vs. Memphis Hustle 12/13 7:00 PM CT

Birmingham Squadron (3-5) vs. Memphis Hustle 12/14 7:00 PM CT

Game 10 Preview: The Hustle will look to sweep their mini-series against the Vipers tomorrow night. They’ll have to continue their defensive dominance and hope that the Vipers continue to miss shots like they did the other night. With the Grizzlies facing off against the Lakers, it’s not clear if Culver or Pons will be available for the Hustle. If they’re unavailable, look for Buchanan and Caver to once again lead the charge as the Hustle fight for positioning in the Showcase Cup.

Games 11 & 12 Preview: The Hustle will wrap up their 12 game tune up for the Showcase Cup with a mini-series against the Birmingham Squadron. The Squadron are led by Jared Harper’s 22 points per game. The Squadron have 4 other players averaging double figures per game with Malcolm Hill averaging 18 points per game. The Squadron haven’t found much success in their first year but have enough offensive firepower to cause problems for the Hustle. The Hustle will likely need a sweep of the Squadron to have a chance to be in Championship Playoff position for the Showcase Cup.

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