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The Hustle Report: Tipping off the Regular Season

All records are reset as the Regular Season tips off this week

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2022-23 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle v Westchester Knicks Photo by Richard Prepetit/NBAE via Getty Images

Showcase Cup Results

Westchester Knicks 90 vs. Memphis Hustle 101 (10-7)

Motor City Cruise 100 vs. Memphis Hustle 112 (11-7)

Game 1 Breakdown

2022-23 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle v Motor City Cruise Photo by Richard Prepetit/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 23 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Dakota Mathias- 20 points, 5 rebounds
  • Matt Hurt- 17 points, 6 rebounds
  • Jacob Gilyard- 14 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists
  • Terrell Brown Jr.- 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Justin Bean- 6 points, 9 rebounds

The Hustle were dominant in their first game in Vegas against the Westchester Knicks. The Hustle led by as many as 17 and controlled the game outside of the 3rd quarter. The Knicks won the 3rd quarter 37-18 to keep things close, but the Hustle were able to respond in the 4th as they outscored the Knicks by 13 with Dakota Mathias hitting the game-winning triple to reach the target score. It was a solid effort by the Hustle guys plus Kenneth Lofton Jr. The Hustle didn’t allow a single Knick to score 20+ points as the Knicks had just 4 players score in double figures. It was a solid defensive outing with enough offense to win the game for the Hustle.

Game 2 Breakdown

2022-23 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle v Motor City Cruise Photo by Richard Prepetit/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 31 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Jake LaRavia- 20 points, 4 assists, 2 steals
  • Dakota Mathias- 13 points, 2 steals
  • Kennedy Chandler- 12 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists
  • Vince Williams Jr.- 10 points, 4 rebounds
  • Justin Bean- 6 points, 9 rebounds

The Hustle wrapped up the trip to Vegas with another dominant win, this time over the Motor City Cruise. The Hustle led by as many as 25 points in the first half before another poor 3rd quarter showing as the Cruise outscored the Hustle 42-27. Similar to the first game, the Hustle responded with a solid showing in the 4th quarter capped off by another fantastic play call by Jason March. With a target score of 112, March called a timeout which tricked the Cruise defense into thinking the Hustle were hunting a triple. Insead, a screen got Vince Williams loose at the basket for an easy layup where he was fouled and hit the game winning free throw to give the Hustle the win. The Hustle, with both two ways and 2 assignment players showed great chemistry and poise against a Cruise team that was able to get Devontae Cacok (12 points, 15 rebounds) back after injury.

Assignment Tracker

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

Jake LaRavia: LaRavia had arguably his best game in a Hustle uniform against the Cruise in Vegas. LaRavia scored 20 points on 5-11 shooting, including 4-7 from beyond the arc. He was aggressive with his 3 point shot, while also taking advantage of opportunities on the interior as well. He added in 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals but did commit 4 turnovers in the contest. Overall it was a solid performance for Jake, who is starting to look more comfortable alongside the other Hustle players.

Kennedy Chandler: It was a solid performance by Kennedy Chandler in Vegas, as he scored 12 points on 5-10 shooting and 2-4 from beyond the arc. Chandler was able to respond to a nasal fracture in the first half and still be a steady contributor as the Hustle point guard. He added in 5 rebounds and 8 assists while also committing zero turnovers. It wasn’t the most dominant game from Chandler, but it didn’t appear that was part of the game plan. He attacked when warranted and let the other guys eat off his playmaking.

Kenneth Lofton Jr.: It was a huge week for Kenneth Lofton Jr. with his performances earning him a spot on the All-Showcase Team. Junior averaged 27 points on 51.4% shooting, while also shooting 5-10 from beyond the arc. Junior also averaged 11.5 rebounds and 5 assists over the week showcasing his rebounding and playmaking skills. On the negative side, Junior averaged 7 turnovers per game, totaling 14 turnovers in just 2 games. The turnovers continue to be a blend of forcing passes, questionable travel calls and then a few just bad decisions. The organization likely wants to see the turnover numbers drop a bit, but on the bright side they aren’t all terrible turnovers.

Vince Williams Jr.: It was a quiet game for Vince in Vegas but he came up clutch when it mattered, hitting the final 3 points to give the Hustle the win against the Cruise. Vince scored 10 points on 4-8 shooting, but just 1-4 from beyond the arc. He chipped in 4 rebounds and a block and was steady defensively. The organization would probably like to see Vince shoot the ball better from distance, but he didn’t shy away from the shots — while also not forcing them, instead attacking the basket when opportunity presented itself.

Week 1 Preview

Stockton Kings v South Bay Lakers Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Hustle vs. South Bay Lakers (0-0) 12/29 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle vs. South Bay Lakers (0-0) 12/30 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle vs. Mexico City Capitanes (0-0) 1/3 7 PM CT

Games 1 & 2 Preview: The Hustle will tip off the regular season with a 3-game homestand, including a back-to-back against the South Bay Lakers. The Lakers were great during the Showcase Cup, finishing with a 13-5 record. Scottie Pippen Jr. (23 ppg) leads the charge with Jay Huff controlling the paint for the Lakers. Devin Cannady has the ability to score points in bunches from beyond the arc with both LJ Figueroa and Bryce Hamilton contributing on the offensive end for South Bay. The Hustle will have their hands full against the Lakers, but could have two-way and assignment players available for at least one matchup with the Grizzlies returning home from their road trip out West.

Game 3 Preview: The Hustle will wrap up the home stand against a familiar foe in the Mexico City Capitanes. The Capitanes finished the Showcase Cup with a 12-6 record including a 2-1 series win over the Hustle. Alfonzo McKinnie, Jahlil Okafor and Mason Jones were fantastic against the Hustle during the Showcase Cup, with Shabazz Napier and Bruno Caboclo contributing well-rounded performances. Gary Clark was great for the Capitanes during the Showcase but has struggled against the Hustle.

It will be a tough start to the regular season for the Hustle, facing off against two really good teams. The Hustle finished the Showcase Cup 8-2 in their last 10, so they have some momentum with them as they return home to Southaven. The Hustle were just 4-4 at home throughout the first 18 games and will need to improve upon that over the final 32 games of the season if they want to be in the G League Playoffs. The first week of the regular season will be a big test for the Hustle and where they currently stand among some of the G League’s best.

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