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The Hustle Report: Week 3

The Hustle look to get healthy after a rough week

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South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 3 Results

Salt Lake City Stars 120 vs. Memphis Hustle 98 (2-4)

Austin Spurs 114 vs. Memphis Hustle 107 (2-5)

South Bay Lakers 124 at Memphis Hustle 116 (2-6)

Week 3 Headlines

  • Matt Hurt ruled out for season, Hustle pick back up Devin Whitfield

Game 6 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle vs Salt Lake City Stars Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Ahmad Caver- 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Cameron Young- 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Shaq Buchanan- 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals
  • Darnell Cowart- 13 points, 5 rebounds
  • Freddie Gillespie- 12 points, 9 rebounds

The Hustle got crushed in the second game of their back-to-back in Salt Lake City. Carsen Edwards and Derrick Alston Jr. torched the Hustle again, this time scoring 20 points a piece. Macio Teague went off for 24 points for the Stars as they took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back. The Hustle struggled shooting the ball, going just 8-33 from beyond the arc.

Game 7 Breakdown

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Freddie Gillespie- 24 points, 17 rebounds
  • David Stockton- 16 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists
  • Shaq Buchanan- 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Cameron Young- 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Tyrell Terry- 13 points

The Hustle’s struggles continued in the final stop of their 6-game road trip in Austin. The Hustle found themselves down by as much as 31 in the game before a late come back made the game look more competitive than it really was. Devontae Cacok was dominant for the Spurs with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Assignee Zach Collins was also huge for the Spurs with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Rookie assignee Joshua Primo had 16 points and 8 assists for Austin. The Spurs had 6 guys in double-figures while the Hustle once again struggled to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. The Hustle went 9-34 from deep, but the Spurs went just 9-26. The Spurs, however, shot 39-67 (58.2%) inside the arc.

Game 8 Breakdown

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Cameron Young- 26 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Tyrell Terry- 22 points, 4 assists
  • Shaq Buchanan- 18 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists
  • Freddie Gillespie- 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals

The Hustle dropped their first game back at home after the 6 game road trip against the South Bay Lakers. The Hustle had a poor 3rd quarter that saw them trail by as much as 21. They were able to claw back in the 4th and make it a 4-point game before the Lakers pulled away for good. You can check out my full recap here.

Hustle Stats

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

38.9%: The Hustle shooting splits have been a bit odd to start the regular season. It’s under relatively small sample sizes, but the Hustle shoot 38.9% at home compared to just 31.8% on the road. The Hustle have played in just 2 home games compared to 4 road games, but they’ve shot much better at home. 3-point shooting has been a struggle for the Hustle for the most part since the restart, with them also allowing the other team to get hot from beyond the arc in the regular season as they average 36.9% against the Hustle in 8 games.

48.9%: The Hustle have allowed teams to shoot 48.9% from the field in the regular season. The Hustle have forced an opponent to shoot under 40% just once in the regular season and they still lost that game. The defense hasn’t been great, mostly due to the health problems with the Hustle. Jason March hasn’t been able to really establish consistent rotations and it has hurt them defensively with missed coverages.

4: The Hustle have had a ton of players miss time due to injuries this season. It started over Summer League when Sean McDermott got hurt and is still roughly a month away from returning to the court. David Stockton missed the majority of the beginning of the Showcase Cup due to injury. Romeo Weems got hurt after 3 games and was ruled out for the season. Matt Hurt was injured after 8 games, and after hope of his return this season, was ruled out for the season earlier this week. That’s 4 guys the Hustle figured would be key rotation pieces who have missed a good amount of time, with two season-ending injuries.

This doesn’t even include the games missed by Ahmad Caver, Shaq Buchanan and Darnell Cowart among others who have missed more minimal time. To make matters worse for the Hustle, they also figured to get a ton of help from the Grizzlies with Sam Merrill, Jarrett Culver, Yves Pons, Killian Tillie and Santi Aldama. Due to their own injury and protocol issues, the Grizzlies haven’t been able to consistently assign these guys to the Hustle since November and it’s really affected the teams depth. The Hustle rarely practice and have to rely heavily on film in between games. It’s tough enough with 4 key guys missing time, but it makes matters worse when the few available guys are also picking up more minor injuries

MVP of the Week - Shaq Buchanan

Memphis Hustle v Austin Spurs Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images

Shaq really stepped up for the Hustle this week with his solid all around performance. He averaged 16 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2.3 steals per game over the week. His shooting efficiency wasn’t great, but he had to be more aggressive searching for his shot with Ahmad Caver and David Stockton hampered by injuries. Shaq flashed his all-around skills all week and his determination single handedly helped carry the Hustle through rough stretches in games.

Week 3 Grade - C

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

It wasn’t a great week for the Hustle, who admittedly haven’t been healthy since November. Still, they were healthy enough to where it’s disheartening to see the deficits they faced in each game. The resiliency and effort to claw back into games is admirable, but the team needs to get better at not digging themselves into holes to begin with.

Week 4 Preview

The Hustle are off for a week until their February 2nd matchup against the Iowa Wolves. The Hustle Report will preview that game and the other upcoming matchups next week.

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