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The Hustle Report: Road Warriors

The Hustle sweep the matchup in Texas ahead of a big week

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Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 2 Results

Texas Legends 105 vs. Memphis Hustle 118 (4-0)

Texas Legends 114 vs. Memphis Hustle 119 (5-0)

Game 4 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Vince Williams Jr.- 23 points, 9 rebounds
  • Matt Hurt- 17 points, 6 rebounds
  • Dakota Mathias- 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 14 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Jacob Gilyard- 6 points, 10 assists

The Hustle won their first game in Frisco against the Legends in dominating fashion. The Hustle led basically the entire game as they built their lead up to as much as 20 in the 2nd quarter. The Legends were able to cut it to a 4 point game midway through the 4th quarter before the Hustle pulled away for good.

It was another strong showing from Vince Williams Jr., who was recalled after the game to the Grizzlies. Kenneth Lofton Jr. continues to play well in a more secondary role, allowing other players to get going offensively. The Hustle were able to overcome strong scoring outbursts from Taze Moore (27 points), Yudai Baba (22 points) and Tyler Hall (21 points) while limiting Grant Riller to just 8 points in the contest. The Legends played just 8 players in the game, with the Hustle depth a key factor in the win.

Game 5 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Jim Cowsert/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Jake LaRavia- 25 points, 9 rebounds
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.- 25 points, 8 rebounds
  • Dakota Mathias- 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Justin Bean- 12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Jacob Gilyard- 6 points, 10 assists

The Hustle were able to sweep the series in Texas against the Legends thanks to a strong showing from both Jake LaRavia and Kenneth Lofton Jr. The Hustle led by as many 17 points, including a 14 point lead entering the 4th quarter before the Legends came back to tie the game and send it to overtime. In the overtime period, the Hustle were dominant with LaRavia drilling a huge triple and Junior clinching the victory with some free throws to reach the target score. Tyler Dorsey nearly had a triple double, scoring 30 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 8 assists in his return to the Legend, after being waived from his two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks. While blowing the double-digit lead was unfortunate, it was good to see the Hustle rally instead of crumbling under the pressure.

Assignment Tracker

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Jim Cowsert/NBAE via Getty Images

Jake LaRavia: LaRavia continues to get more and more comfortable with the Hustle. In Texas, LaRavia averaged 17.5 points on 44.4% shooting and making 6 of his 18 attempts from beyond the arc. While you would like to see a bit more consistency with his 3-point shot, it’s encouraging to see LaRavia take the shots without any hesitation. Getting reps is a main reason Jake is down in Southaven, so the slightly low efficiency is fine as long as he’s continuing to get shots up. Additionally, LaRavia chipped in 6.5 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists. He’s picking and choosing his spots to be a scorer or let other guys cook well. He’s not disappearing like it felt he did at times in Summer League or in his early Hustle games, instead having an impact all over the place even if he’s not dropping a ton of points.

Vince Williams Jr.: Vince continued his recent hot streak with a 23-point, 9-rebound performance in just one game against the Legends. Vince has been extremely efficient from the field and from beyond the arc. This is a great sign to see, especially with his added aggression. Against the Legends, Vince shot 10-15 from the field, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. Williams has been solid with his 3-point shooting but his inside the arc efficiency has been amazing to start the regular season. His play earned him a call up to the Grizzlies with a couple of key players during the back-to-back earlier this week.

Kenneth Lofton Jr.: Junior continues to grow with the Hustle. His scoring numbers may not be as absurd as they were during the Showcase Cup, but he’s proving he can impact the game in other ways. In 2 games, Junior averaged 19.5 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Junior also averaged just 3 turnovers per game, which is a fantastic step in that direction of his development. His 3-point shot still isn’t falling at a great clip (25% this week), but he’s showing he can be good, while not be the primary focus but also capable of taking over when necessary. He’s improved at making the right and easier plays instead of forcing some difficult passes and reading the defenses better. On the defensive end, he’s continuing to grow as a pick-and-roll defender and protecting the rim. You won’t ever mistake him for Jaren Jackson Jr., but he’s showing plenty of growth on that end of the court.

Week 3 Preview

Santa Cruz Warriors v G League Ignite Photo by Miranda Alam/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Hustle at Wisconsin Herd (3-0) 1/11 6 PM CT

Memphis Hustle at Iowa Wolves (1-5) 1/15 2 PM CT

Memphis Hustle vs. Santa Cruz Warriors (2-3) 1/17 7 PM CT

Memphis Hustle vs. Santa Cruz Warriors (2-3) 1/18 7 PM CT

Game 6 Preview: The Hustle road trip continues as they travel to face off against the undefeated Wisconsin Herd. The Herd have played just 3 games and recently lost the 2nd overall pick in the G League Draft Joe Wieskamp to a 10-day contract with the Toronto Raptors. The Herd still have solid players in Jordan Bone and Lindell Wigginton surrounding two-way player Sandro Mamukelashvili forming a solid lead trio. The Herd also get solid contributions from Elijah Hughes and former Grizzlies big man Jontay Porter.

Game 7 Preview: The Hustle will wrap up their 4 game home stand with a visit to Des Moines to face off against the Iowa Wolves. The Wolves have struggled to start the season after having a lot of success in the Showcase Cup. A main reason for that has been less availability of guys like Luka Garza, Wendell Moore Jr. and Josh Minott. Additionally, PJ Dozier signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings earlier this week. D.J. Carton has been great for the Wolves, averaging 26.8 points in the regular season. Without the potential of two-ways or assignment players though, the Wolves lack the firepower to really compete. Returning back to Iowa, however, could lead to some of the assignment players getting run as the Minnesota Timberwolves will be in the middle of a homestand when the Hustle make the trip to Iowa.

Games 8 & 9 Preview: The Hustle will then return home from their road trip with a back-to-back against the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors are led by former Hustle legend Dusty Hannahs (21.8 points per game on an absurd 51.6% shooting on nearly 8 attempts from beyond the arc) and former Memphis Tiger Lester Quinones (20.6 points per game). The Warriors struggle to find consistent offense outside of those two, with Elijah Pemberton and Gui Santos capable of scoring relatively well but not necessarily scaring you either. The Landers Center could be packed with some Warrior fans as Hannahs will likely have a sizeable contingent making the trip over from Arkansas as he makes his return to Southaven. Likewise, I’d expect to see some Tiger fans make the trip down I-55 to check out Quinones.

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