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The Hustle Report: Road Warriors

Hustle find success, and health, on the road

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Memphis Hustle v Oklahoma City Blue

Week 9 Results

Oklahoma City Blue 109 vs. Memphis Hustle 114 (7-14)

Santa Cruz Warriors 120 vs. Memphis Hustle 117 (7-15)

Santa Cruz Warriors 99 vs. Memphis Hustle 107 (8-15)

Stockton Kings 98 vs. Memphis Hustle 106 (9-15)

Week 9 Headlines

  • Sean McDermott makes season debut
  • Santi Aldama assigned for road trip

Game 21 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Oklahoma City Blue

Key Stats

  • Santi Aldama- 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
  • Shaq Buchanan- 19 points, 4 assists, 4 steals
  • Damien Jefferson- 16 points
  • Ahmad Caver- 14 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals
  • Ben Moore- 10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals

The Hustle tipped off their 7-game road trip with a victory over the OKC Blue as part of their Field Trip Day game. Despite thousands of kids in the arena, the Hustle were able to take an early lead on the Blue and control most of the game. The Hustle did a good job of competing in all 4 quarters, and the defense held strong in the 4th limiting the Blue to just 17 points in the final quarter to seal the victory.

Game 22 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle vs Santa Cruz Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Ahmad Caver- 28 points, 6 rebounds
  • Santi Aldama- 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Shaq Buchanan- 21 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Damien Jefferson- 14 points, 10 rebounds

The Hustle dropped their first of two games in Santa Cruz against the Warriors. The Hustle trailed by as many as 15, but were able to come back and make it a 3-point game late as they had a chance to send it to overtime but missed on two consecutive 3-point attempts on the final possession. The Hustle couldn’t complete the comeback despite a season high 28 points from Ahmad Caver. Tyrell Terry made a brief 6 minute return before exiting the game and not coming back in after re-aggravating his left foot. The Hustle defense struggled to contain Jerome Robinson who went off for 33 points, while Quinndary Weatherspoon chipped in 22 points and 9 rebounds for Santa Cruz.

Game 23 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle vs Santa Cruz Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Shaq Buchanan- 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Reggie Hearn- 17 points, 3 steals
  • Damien Jefferson- 16 points, 4 rebounds
  • Ahmad Caver- 15 points, 6 assists
  • Ben Moore- 9 points, 8 rebounds
  • Santi Aldama- 9 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks

The Hustle were able to split the series in Santa Cruz, avenging the loss from the night prior. The defense was locked in, not allowing the Warriors to score 100 points and not allowing a 20-point scorer, with both Robinson and Weatherspoon being defended much better. It was another strong offensive performance from Shaq Buchanan with some timely baskets by Reggie Hearn. Sean McDermott made his season debut for the Hustle, scoring 8 points and 3 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes of action. Now that they are finally getting healthy, the Hustle can find numerous ways to win even if guys like Santi Aldama (4-12 shooting) don’t have as large of an impact as normal.

Game 24 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Oklahoma City Blue

Key Stats

  • Ahmad Caver- 21 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists
  • Ben Moore- 18 points, 15 rebounds
  • Santi Aldama- 15 points, 5 rebounds
  • Damien Jefferson- 14 points, 3 assists, 3 steals
  • Shaq Buchanan- 13 points, 7 rebounds

The Hustle improved to 3-1 on the road trip with a big win over the Stockton Kings. The Hustle led by as many as 16 in the first half, but saw the lead erased quickly in the 3rd quarter as Stockton went on a run. The Hustle didn’t collapse, though, and fought back to earn a much needed win against a quality opponent.

MVP of the Week - Ahmad Caver

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Caver was phenomenal for the Hustle this week as he averaged 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game and really pacing the Hustle offense. He isn’t always the leading scorer, but Caver continuously finds ways to lead the Hustle offense and when he’s on, it usually leads to Hustle wins.

Assignment Tracker

Memphis Hustle vs Santa Cruz Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Santi Aldama: Aldama really excelled for the Hustle this week. He averaged 18 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while part of the team on the road trip. When featured in the offense, Aldama was clearly one of the best players on the floor and could dominate. He is still getting his footing with his spot in Jason March’s rotation, but is really doing great when called upon. I’ve personally been impressed with Aldama not forcing things in his minutes. He could easily average more points by emphasizing his offense, but instead works within the Hustle system and isn’t just trying to “get his”. The only struggle for Aldama? Finding his 3-point stroke. He shot 34.5% from deep on the week, thanks in large part to a 5-10 shooting performance in the first game against Santa Cruz (followed by an 0-4 showing). Aldama will likely look to find more consistency with that shot on his assignment with the Hustle.

Tyrell Terry: Tyrell Terry returned from a left foot injury in the first matchup against Santa Cruz. Unfortunately Terry aggravated the injury after less than 7 minutes of action and missed the last 2 games of the week.

Week 10 Preview

South Bay Lakers v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

South Bay Lakers vs. Memphis Hustle 3/10 9:00 PM CT

Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Memphis Hustle 3/12 9:00 PM CT

Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Memphis Hustle 3/13 5:00 PM CT

Game 25 Preview: The Hustle continue their road trip with a visit to face off against the South Bay Lakers. The Lakers are one of the better teams in the G League thanks to the trio of Mason Jones (25.8 ppg), Mac McClung (21.8 ppg) and Chaundee Brown Jr. (18.1 ppg) with Jay Huff pacing the G League in blocks per game. The Lakers did recently trade Frank Mason III for Tremont Waters, who has yet to play up to his standards in limited minutes with his new squad. The Lakers also recently bought out big man Cameron Oliver who decided to play overseas. The trip to South Bay will be a tough one for the Hustle, but if they stay healthy they’ll have a shot to avenge the two losses in Southaven to the Lakers.

Game 26 & 27 Preview: It doesn’t get any easier for the Hustle as they wrap up the road trip with a back-to-back against the Agua Caliente Clippers. The Clippers are led by Grizzlies summer league prospect Keaton Wallace (19.2 ppg) and get solid production from a handful of other guys, including Kris Dunn who was waived by the Grizzlies after preseason earlier this year. The Clippers use their depth with 6 guys who average double figures (min. 10 games) at their disposal. The Clippers also boast one of the G League’s best defenses, so the Hustle will need to be sure to execute on their end.

It’s a tough week coming up for the Hustle, as an 0-3 week is possible and could crush any playoff hopes. However, picking up a couple of wins against some of the Western Conference elite could give the Hustle momentum to make a late run.

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