Hustle Fall Short Despite Solid Showings from Jackson, Arms, and LaRavia.
On Monday night, the Memphis Hustle and Oklahoma City Blue faced off live from the Paycom Center, with both teams looking to avoid falling below .500. The Hustle and Blue came into Monday’s matchup looking to recuperate from losses on Saturday night after both squads split their back-to-back tournament matches that started on Friday. Unfortunately for Memphis, fate was leaning more in Oklahoma City’s favor on Monday, as they started the matchup with a trail of fire.
The Hustle had no answer for the Oklahoma City Blue in the first half. They got out-hustled. Ousmane Dieng and K.J. Williams were an absolute nightmare on the boards and took full advantage of Matthew Hurt being out in this matchup, as they combined for over half of their team’s rebounds with 26. Memphis also had no answer for former Alabama standout Jaden Shackleford, who had a field day, shooting an unreal 11-14 from deep, highlighting the Hustle’s lack of perimeter defense on Monday night.
On a slightly better note, Jake LaRavia looked very good for the Hustle tonight, providing a solid 24-point and ten-rebound double-double to pair with four assists and two blocks. I firmly believe in LaRavia’s ball-playing abilities and genuinely believe a lack of opportunity coupled with wavering confidence at the NBA level is what holds him back. Obviously, playing opportunity is what builds confidence, but unfortunately for Jake, he is currently a member of a good old-fashioned small-forward logjam at the pro level. Hopefully, his continued play with the Hustle will soon translate into more opportunities for the Grizzlies as the season progresses.
G.G. Jackson also poured in a not-surprising 21-point, six-rebound night. We have already grown accustomed to G.G. playing like an absolute pro despite his age. The only negative for him was six turnovers, which will continue to work itself out through time, as he continues to acclimate to playing at this level. Adonis Arms provided 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks, continuing to show his value on both ends after acquiring him from this summer’s swap with Toronto.
Memphis will look to even back up to 2-2 on the season with a win, as they take on the Blue once again, live from Oklahoma City at 11:00am.
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