The Hustle & Nets entered their morning matchup already eliminated from playoff elimination after yesterday’s games eliminated the teams who came into today 5-8 on the season. The beauty of the G-League though is you don’t have to worry about tanking as the teams and players are still trying to prove their worth to earn a 10-day, two-way or straight up NBA contract.
The teams finally tipped off after about a 10 minute delay due to clock issues at the HP Field House in Orlando, Florida. The Hustle jumped out to an early 7-0 run but the Nets responded with a 9-0 run of their own. The teams exchanged leads throughout the first 6 minutes of the first quarter, as neither team could gain any sort of separation. The Nets held a one possession game throughout the final half of the first quarter, but couldn’t do much to pull away from the Hustle. Back to back triples by the Hustle and then a one for two free throw by Ahmad Caver capped an 8-0 run to end the quarter as the Hustle were up 23-19 after the first 12 minutes.
The Nets started the second quarter on a 10-0 run to give them the lead. The Hustle were able to come back and cut the Nets lead down to two, but a 14-2 run saw the Nets run out to a game high 12 point lead late in the quarter. A 9-0 run to end the quarter, capped off by a steal and slam by Jontay Porter helped them cut the deficit down to 50-47 at the end of the first half.
The Nets maintained a 1-2 possession lead through the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter before Tyrell Terry took over offensively to help the Hustle retake the lead. The teams exchanged leads throughout most of the quarter as neither team could jump out to more than a two possession lead. The Hustle were able to take a 81-75 lead behind some strong work by Jontay Porter and two late triples by Anthony Cowan Jr.
The Hustle couldn’t quite carry the momentum with them into the 4th as the Nets clawed back into the game to tie things up by the 8 minute mark of the 4th quarter. The Nets were able to pull ahead with a 5-point lead, which is considered a sizable lead with how this game is gone, midway through the 4th. The Hustle were able to cut the lead down to 1 a couple of times in the quarter, but the Nets were ultimately able to pull away and take the 110-100 win over the Hustle.
It was a solid game for the Hustle, up until the late stages of the 4th quarter. Sean McDermott had a solid game with 17 points but went just 1-7 from beyond the arc. Jontay Porter continued to look better and better as he finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 19 minutes. Shaq Buchanan & Tyrell Terry had solid offensive games with 16 and 15 points a piece. Freddie Gillespie continued his all-around play with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.
Jason March was pleased overall with his teams performance despite being eliminated from playoff contention yesterday. He said he never has to worry about effort with this group and thought they put together a good game up until the 4th quarter. Jason hopes to give guys like Darnell Cowart and Shaqur Juiston more minutes in the final game just to get their feet wet since they’ve had limited minutes in the Gubble due to the teams depth, and with Juiston having very little practice time with the team.
Jason March also spoke more about Freddie Gillespie being more aggressive from the mid-range and acknowledges it’s something they’ve talked with him about to make sure to put him in comfortable situations. Jason says Freddie deserves and he expects a team to take a chance by giving Gillespie an NBA call up.
The Hustle will wrap up their season on Saturday against the Delaware Blue Coats at 2 PM CT.
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