clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Hustle Report: Showing out ahead of the Showcase

The Hustle wrap up the pre-Vegas stretch of games for the Showcase Cup

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 6 Results

Birmingham Squadron 109 vs. Memphis Hustle 114 (6-6)

Texas Legends 102 vs. Memphis Hustle 117 (7-6)

Lakeland Magic 130 @ Memphis Hustle 132 (8-6)

Game 12 Breakdown

Birmingham Squardron v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 24 points, 9 rebounds
  • Kennedy Chandler- 23 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Matt Hurt- 17 points, 5 rebounds
  • Vince Williams Jr.- 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Justin Bean- 9 points, 7 rebounds

The Hustle won an exciting matchup against the Squadron in Birmingham. The Hustle led the majority of the first half, with the Squadron coming back and leading a majority of the 3rd quarter and half of the 4th. The Hustle were able to comeback from a 5 point deficit late in the game steal the victory. Kennedy Chandler was clutch down the stretch, with Kenneth Lofton Jr. picking up a huge offensive rebound and hitting both free throws to secure the win for the Hustle. It was arguably the best overall game from the two-ways and assignee Kennedy Chandler as all three played really well and alongside one another.

Game 13 Breakdown

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Dakota Mathias- 24 points, 7 assists
  • Justin Bean- 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Terrell Brown Jr.- 20 points, 3 assists, 3 steals
  • Jacob Gilyard- 12 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals

The Hustle wrapped up their 2 game road trip with arguably one of their best performances of the season. The defense held the highly proficient Legends offense to just 102 points as the Hustle dominated the game from the second quarter on. The Hustle split the matchups in Southaven the other week, but the lone Hustle win was a close one with the Legends without both two way players. While the Hustle were fortunate that Jaden Hardy was recalled by the Mavs, the defense did an excellent job slowing down the electric trio of Tyler Dorsey, Grant Riller and McKinley Wright IV. All three players got their points, but the Hustle made it difficult for them and didn’t allow any other player to really step up to make it a close game. Both Dakota Mathias and Justin Bean continued to play up when the Hustle are without the two-ways or assignment players, and Terrell Brown Jr. continues to prove to be a really solid addition to the team when his number is called.

Game 14 Breakdown

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Dakota Mathias- 36 points, 4 rebounds
  • Xavier Tillman- 29 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Vince Williams Jr.- 17 points, 4 rebounds
  • Kennedy Chandler- 12 points
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.-10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists

The Hustle won a thrilling matchup against the Lakeland Magic last night. After trailing by 21 points late in the 3rd quarter, the Hustle mounted a monster comeback mostly without the assignment guys. It was a charge led by getting defensive stops and a more efficient offense that usually ended with a Mathias triple or an Xavier Tillman offensive rebound and putback. It was an electric finish as a Vince Williams Jr. putback slam sealed the Hustle victory in overtime. You can check out my full recap of the game here.

Hustle Stats

4: One of the more interesting things I have noticed through the first 14 games is the Hustle have had more success without any assignment/transfer players than they have had with the guys. The Hustle are 4-1 in games in which they have no extra help. They are 4-5 in games with at least one assignee/transfer. They are 2-2 in games Junior is the only transfer. This really just shows the difficulty in adjusting on the fly with who is and isn’t available on your roster with such limited practice time. It’s not intended as a knock on the assignment/transfer guys for not stepping up in their assignments, but instead I want to give the true Hustle guys their flowers. They’ve had the luxury of being together all season and practicing together, and they’ve proven they’re a good team together. More time and consistency with the assignees/transfers will only help the Hustle be more of a problem once the regular season starts for the G League.

MVP of the Week - Dakota Mathias

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Mathias was fantastic for the Hustle this past week as they won all 3 matchups. Mathias averaged 23.7 points on 61% shooting from the field and 58.6% from beyond the arc. Additionally, Mathias dished out 3.3 assists as a secondary facilitator and has really embraced multiple roles on the Hustle this season. It was a good week for the Hustle’s veteran.

Assignment Tracker

Lakeland Magic v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Jake LaRavia: After spending the last few weeks on the Grizzlies injury report with lingering soreness, Jake LaRavia made his return two nights ago with the Grizzlies but played just garbage time minutes. To help him get more reps, the Grizzlies assigned him to the Hustle for last night’s matchup. LaRavia didn’t do much other than try and shake off some rest and get some cardio in his Hustle debut. He finished with 6 points on 1-6 shooting, going 0-5 from beyond the arc. LaRavia’s shot wasn’t falling but he wasn’t a total non-factor as he picked up 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 24 minutes. It wasn’t a monster breakout game for LaRavia, but it was good for him to get some minutes after being out for a relatively extended period of time.

Xavier Tillman: X was an absolute monster for the Hustle in last night’s matchup against the Magic. Tillman finished with a career high 29 points and a career high 16 rebounds to go along with 5 assists. Tillman shot an efficient 12-20 from the field, but did go 0-3 from beyond the arc. Of his 16 rebounds, 11 were on the offensive end and gave the Hustle much needed second chance points. X was critical down the stretch, as Jason March says he “carried us” which included the game tying shot to send it to OT that he got off just in time. While Tillman’s play style isn’t typically a dominant one, it was good to see him really take over and be a force on both ends of the court.

Kennedy Chandler: After playing 23 minutes the night before against the Atlanta Hawks, Kennedy Chandler looked a little fatigued in last night’s matchup against the Magic. His numbers were fine, scoring 12 points on 4-9 shooting and 2-4 from beyond the arc but he just wasn’t much of a factor beyond the first quarter. Chandler really shined though in the Hustle’s win over the Squadron last Thursday. Chandler finished that game with 23 points on 7-15 shooting and 5 assists. It was Chandlers most comfortable game with the Hustle and he wasn’t at a rest disadvantage like he has been a majority of his other Hustle appearances.

Kenneth Lofton Jr.: It was a tale of two games for Kenneth Lofton Jr. He was a monster against the Squadron on Thursday, scoring 24 points on 10-13 shooting and 9 rebounds. He had some clutch rebounds and baskets to help seal the game and was a force down low. Against the Magic, however, he found himself on the bench the majority of the second half as Jason March rode with Xavier Tillman and Matt Hurt as his big men as the Hustle came back against the Magic. While Junior didn’t necessarily play bad in his 19 minutes, it was a bit telling he didn’t check in the final 18 minutes of the game as Jason March and the Hustle focused on the defensive end and getting stops.

Vince Williams Jr.: Vince ended a quietly successful week in a big way with his game winning dunk against the Magic. Vince was the most consistent of the Grizzlies assignees who played in more than one game, scoring 16 points and 7 rebounds to go along with 3 assists on Thursday and then a 17 point, 4 rebound game last night against the Magic. Vince fills his role nicely and doesn’t do too much outside of the flow of the offense. He’s a solid communicator on defense, even if it doesn’t always show with all the moving parts with the Hustle rotations.

Week 7 Preview

Memphis Hustle v Rio Grande Valley Vipers Photo by Christian Inoferio/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Hustle vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (12-3) 12/16 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle vs. Birmingham Squadron (5-9) 12/17 7 PM CT

Game 15 Preview: The Hustle will tip off their final stretch of games before Las Vegas with a matchup against arguably the best team in the league in the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Hustle split the series in Texas against the Vipers back in mid-November, and the Vipers have since gone 10-1 dominating the competition. TyTy Washington Jr. has been excellent when he’s been available, with Josh Christopher dominating in recent appearances after being sent down on assignment. On the more standard roster, the Vipers have really solid players in Louis King, Darius Days, Trevor Hudgins and Cassius Stanley all averaging double digits. The matchup against the Vipers will be a good litmus test to see how the team has grown over the last month or so.

Game 16 Preview: The Hustle will wrap up their pre-Vegas Showcase Cup schedule against the Birmingham Squadron. The Hustle have split their matchups against the Squadron this season, with a deflating home loss a few weeks ago and last weeks thrilling win. Both teams will likely know by Saturday if they’re eliminated from the championship bracket in Vegas, so it wouldn’t shock me if both teams just use the game as a final tune up to get ready for the games in Vegas in front of a bunch of NBA scouts and executives.

The 2022 G League Showcase will tip off December 19th and conclude on December 22nd. The schedule for the Showcase won’t be announced until after teams conclude their pre-Vegas games. A special edition of the Hustle report will be released on December 19th highlighting the Hustle matchups and some names to look out for that could earn NBA Call Ups after the Showcase.

Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram. For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart.