The Hustle looked to snap their 4-game losing streak agains the 0-10 Iowa Wolves earlier tonight as the team has lost a few really tough contest over the past week. The Wolves entered the game winless in the Gubble and without Tyler Cook who recently signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Hustle had a good start to the game, opening on a 8-0 run before the Wolves offense got into a slight rhythm. The Hustle controlled most of the first quarter until the Wolves took a slim lead late in the final minutes. It was a solid all-around effort by the Wolves who had 7 players score in the quarter. The Hustle had 9 of 10 players score, but found themselves down 28-24 at the end of the first quarter.
The Wolves extended their lead early in the 2nd quarter, finding themselves up 15 by the midway point in the quarter, thanks in large part to 9 early points by Canyon Barry. The Hustle were able to slowly craw back into things making it a 10 point deficit at the half.
It was a poor first half by the Hustle, who allowed the Wolves to shoot 9-15 from beyond the arc, good enough to outscore the Hustle by 9 points from distance. The Hustle were able to force turnovers, but didn’t score off them as much as they normally do in the first 24 minutes of action.
The Hustle were able to cut the Wolves lead in half early in the 3rd quarter thanks in large part to Sean McDermott and David Stockton. The Hustle were able to cut the Wolves lead down to 3, but were unable to claw back any closer as the Wolves were able to respond and extend their lead back to nearly double digits late in the quarter. Another Hustle run saw them cut the Wolves lead down to 2, but again the Wolves had an answer for the Hustle run. After a couple of runs, the Hustle found themselves down 9 at the end of the 3rd quarter as they trailed the Wolves 88-79.
The Wolves were able to extend their lead to as much as 15 points early in the quarter as the Hustle’s poor performance continued. The Hustle were able to climb back into things, cutting the Wolves lead down to 4 points midway through the 4th quarter. The Wolves were once again able to respond to the Hustle run and were able to hold on for their first win of the season. The Wolves ultimately won the game 123-114 agains the Hustle, extending the Hustle losing streak to 5 games.
It was just a poor performance by the Hustle in what I would have considered a “must win” game for playoff purposes in the Gubble. With tonight’s loss, the Hustle likely need to win out agains the Clippers, Knicks, Nets and Blue Coats to think about a playoff berth.
The Hustle got another standout performance from the David Stockton and Bennie Boatwright duo. Stockton finished the game with 22 points and 6 assists while Boatwright finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Ahmad Caver continued his 6th Man of the Year performance with 16 points and a season high 11 assists off the bench for the Hustle. Sean McDermott finished with 16 points on 6-18 shooting (1-8 from distance) in his second game with the Hustle. Jontay Porter chipped in 11 points and 2 blocks off the bench as he continues his rehab from a few injuries over the past few seasons.
Jason continues to be frustrated with the losing streak, but has kept a positive mindset. Says the young Hustle squad will need to continue improving and working and that he has a bunch of high character guys in the Gubble with him who are here to develop and work, despite the losses.
Jason also points out how not many GM’s are in the Gubble to focus strictly on wins and losses, but to mostly see how the players play and perform under different circumstances. Jason says some of the guys tonight should have caught some scouts eyes despite the Hustle loss. Jason says he can come up with 100 excuses, but at the end of the day the team just needs to keep improving. Some of the positive takeaways for Jason March? The Hustle had 99 field goal attempts to the Wolves 69. The Hustle also had their lowest turnover game of the season, committing just 10 turnovers on the night.
Nobody is happy with the losses piling on for the Hustle, but it says a lot about the team and staff the Hustle have put together to keep a positive outlook through the season.