The Memphis Hustle return to the court after getting more than a week off to face off against the Texas Legends (5-5). Both teams were without the firepower that had made them two of the higher scoring teams in the G League over the first few weeks of the season as the Dallas Mavericks recalled Jaden Hardy from assignment. On the Hustle’s end, a lengthy injury report for tomorrow night’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves meant both Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Vince Williams Jr. stayed with the NBA squad instead of being transferred down to the Hustle. The Legends, meanwhile, had the services of two-way player and former Grizzly Tyler Dorsey (21.1 ppg) but were without McKinley Wright IV and the G League’s leading scorer in Jaden Hardy who was recalled by Dallas earlier today.
It was a rough start for the Hustle, who found themselves down 6 points after just 1:06 of play forcing Jason March to call a Greg Popovich-esque early timeout. The timeout helped stabilize the Hustle as they were able to get into a rhythm and stop the Legends momentum. Unfortunately for the Hustle, the Legends were able to regain control of game, forcing a ton of Hustle turnovers into easy buckets while also knocking down their 3-point attempts at an efficient rate. The Legends were able to turn 6 Hustle turnovers into 11 points, most of which came as easy layups at the other end to help them take a 36-31 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A quick 5-0 run for the Hustle helped them tie things up in the opening minute of the second quarter. The Hustle were able to take their first lead of the game behind a Matthew Hurt triple, but the Legends responded quickly to extend their lead back up to 8 points. The Legends extended their lead to as much as 14 points as they led 70-56 at the halftime break.
Matt Hurt led the Hustle with a 17 point half, with Dakota Mathias chipping in 10 points as well. The Hustle shot 46% from the field but just 6-18 from beyond the arc. Tyler Dorsey led the Legends with 26 points in the first half to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Grant Riller chipped in 14 points as the Legends shot 61.4% from the field and 11-18 (61.1%) from beyond the arc.
The Legends were able to quickly make it a 20 point game early in the 3rd quarter as they controlled the game in the opening minutes of the second half. The Hustle tried to claw back, but the Legends responded to any mini run the Hustle could put together. The Hustle couldn’t get the game any closer than 15 points, while the Legends extended their lead to as much as 25 late in the quarter. The Legends kept that lead as they found themselves up 118-93 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Hustle opened up the 4th quarter on a 7-0 run, forcing an early Legends timeout as the lead was cut down to 18 in the opening minute and a half of the final quarter. The Legends were able to respond to jump back out to a 22-point lead by the Dakota Mathias and Matthew Hurt duo could not be denied as the Hustle cut the Legends lead down to 12 midway through the 4th quarter. The Hustle were able to generate initial stops but gave up some untimely offensive rebounds that lead to second chance points for the Legends. The Hustle were able to briefly make it an 8 point game but the clock was against them as they ultimately fall 139-129 to the Texas Legends.
The loss drops the Hustle to 3-5 on the season. The Hustle got 27 points a piece by both Matt Hurt and Dakota Mathias, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 39 points from Tyler Dorsey and 30 points from Grant Riller. The Legends ultimately shot 20-35 from beyond the arc, compared to the Hustle’s 11-31. Being outscored by 27 points from deep, in addition to having 19 turnovers converted into 29 Legends points were the back breakers for the Hustle.
The two teams will face off again tomorrow night here at the Landers Center at 7 PM CT.