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Recap: Hustle make the Magic disappear in their season opening victory

Hustle pick up the win in their season opener

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Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

The Hustle tipped off their 2022-2023 campaign tonight with a matchup against the Lakeland Magic at the Landers Center. The matchup tips off the 18-game Showcase Cup that will feature 16 games as the team prepares for the Winter Showcase in Las Vegas where they’ll play an additional 2 games.

The Hustle were without the services of two-way players Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Vince Williams Jr. but otherwise had a mostly healthy roster for the season opener against the Magic with Hassani Gravett the lone player out for the Hustle. The Magic were without both of their two-way players in Admiral Schofield and Kevon Harris to balance that out for tonight’s matchup.

It was a whole lot of Dakota Mathias early for the Hustle as he scored the first 7 for Memphis, flashing his shooting abilities. The Hustle offense was as good as advertised early on as the ball movement was good and the team got good shot opportunities. The defensive effort was there for the Hustle, even if the execution wasn’t at times. One of Jason March’s concerns before the season was rebounding and those concerns proved valid after the first 12 minutes as the Hustle were out rebounded 9-4 in the quarter. 3 offensive rebounds by the Magic helped them take a 29-27 lead at the end of the first.

The defense stepped up in the second quarter as the Hustle were able to force some stops and get easy looks on the other end. Jacob Gilyard got hot from beyond the arc and his back-to-back triples midway through the quarter gave the Hustle a 4 point lead. The Magic were able to respond to the Hustle run as the teams exchanged leads throughout the final minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Hustle were able to go on a mini run to take a 67-61 lead at the halftime break.

The Hustle defense and rebounding stepped up in a big way during the second quarter as they out rebounded the Magic 14-8 in the quarter en route to the lead. Dakota Mathias led the Hustle with 12 points as all Hustle players got in the scoring column. Zavier Simpson and Drake Jeffries with 15 a piece for the Magic.

The Hustle came out firing to start the second half and forced an early Magic timeout. The timeout couldn’t stop the Hustle run as they extended their lead up to 10 points in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter. The Hustle defense really sparked the run as they forced 6 Magic turnovers as they extended their lead up to 14 late in the 3rd quarter. The Magic were able to momentarily cut the deficit back to single digits, but a Justin Bean triple gave the Hustle a 96-84 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

The Hustle were able to quickly extend their lead to 17 early in the 4th. The Magic were able to claw back and force some Hustle turnovers to keep the game relatively close, but the Hustle had an answer every time the Magic tried to make it a single digit game. The Magic had it at an 11 point game but the Hustle were able to put the game away, extending their lead out to 20 in the final minute of the game.

The Hustle ultimately came away with the 123-105 victory in their season opener. Dakota Mathias (15 points, 11 assists) and Jacob Gilyard (11 points, 11 assists) both notched double-doubles in their Hustle debuts. The Hustle will have their first ever trip to Mexico City to face off against the Capitanes on Monday night.

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