The Hustle return to action after having 6 days off to rest up and heal up following last Wednesday’s defeat to the South Bay Lakers. The 2-7 Hustle look to put an end to their 5-game losing streak as they are set to face off against the 6-3 Iowa Wolves. With the Memphis Grizzlies finally getting healthier, both Santi Aldama and Yves Pons were assigned to the Hustle for the upcoming stretch of games so they can work on their craft, as well as provide the Hustle with more than 7 or 8 available bodies. The bad news for the Hustle? They’re without both Ahmad Caver and David Stockton who are out due to injuries. The Hustle are also looking to avenge their loss earlier in the season to the Wolves that saw them get outscored 40-19 in the 4th quarter in Iowa. To snap their streak, the Hustle are going to need to slow down the Wolves explosive two-way player McKinley Wright IV.
It was a high scoring, fast paced game to start as the teams combined for nearly 30 points in the first 5 minutes of the game. The teams traded baskets throughout the first half of the quarter before a flurry of Wolves 3-pointers gave them a double digit lead in the final 4 minutes of the quarter. The Hustle were able to go on a run but a last second basket by the Wolves gave them a 32-24 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Wolves hit another flurry of triples to give them a 41-26 lead in the opening 2 minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Hustle were able to slowly cut into the lead throughout the quarter and cut it down to a 3 point game with 2 minutes left in the quarter. The Hustle defense was able to survive an onslaught of first half triples by the Wolves, trailing by just two points entering halftime. The Wolves shot 10-24 from beyond the arc in the first half and out rebounded the Hustle 31-18 as key factors in their halftime lead. The Hustle did lose Yves Pons who landed somewhat awkwardly going for a block attempt and appeared to roll his ankle late in the first half.
The injuries continued for the Hustle as Freddie Gillespie looks like he aggravated the knee he hurt in last weeks game against the South Bay Lakers. Gillespie had to be helped to the locker room after nailing a mid-range jumper in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter. The Hustle were able to take the lead for the first time since the early minutes of the first quarter, thanks in large part to a mini-Aldama run. The Wolves were able to respond and take the lead back after a 13-2 run. The Hustle didn’t back down from the Wolves run and found themselves tied at 82 entering the 4th quarter.
Both offenses struggled to open the 4th as the Wolves took an 89-84 lead after the first few minutes. The Hustle were able to fight back and tie things back up by the midway point of the quarter. The teams exchanged leads and remained tied in the final two minutes of the game. Santi Aldama drains a mid-range fadeaway to give the Hustle a 105-103 lead with a minute left in the game. The Hustle were able to get a stop on the defense end and pushed the pace. Great ball movement helped the Hustle kill a little bit of clock and then Aldama found Buchanan open under the rim. Buchanan flashes a nice pump fake to bait the Wolves defender into fouling him as Shaq makes the bucket. The and-1 gave the Hustle a 108-103 lead. A stop on the next possession essentially seals the game for the Hustle as they snap their 5-game losing streak by beating the Iowa Wolves 111-103.