The Memphis Hustle embark on an extended road trip that starts Friday night in Oklahoma City, but not before earning its fourth straight victory in a 134-125 shootout with the Texas Legends Monday night at the Landers Center in Southaven.
The four-game win skein is the longest of the season and the second time Memphis has put together four straight victories, which is a franchise record.
Tyler Harvey was the main sharpshooter for the Hustle Monday, tying a G League career high of 29 points. Harvey was 9-for-16 shooting for the night against Texas and hit five of eight three-point attempts.
“We figured out how to get this win,” Harvey said after the victory. “It was not the prettiest thing in the world, but at the end of the day we won and it shows just how far we’ve come this season as a team.”
“When Tyler has had his chances, he’s been terrific,” added Hustle Coach Brad Jones about the Hustle’s leading scorer for the night. “To his credit, he’s always stayed prepared. He’s been terrific for us so I’m excited for him.”
Harvey, who played college basketball at Eastern Washington, has scored at least 26 points in each of his three starts and is averaging 27.3 points per start.
The competitive first half featured 20 lead changes and 11 ties. Texas took a nine-point lead to start the second quarter, but the Hustle regrouped and put together its own 10-0 run on its way to a 70-66 advantage at halftime.
“It was a little bit messy in the first half but as the game went on we figured it out,” Jones said about his team’s first-half play.
Memphis forged an 11-point lead at 86-75 in the third quarter, but as typical in most NBA G League games, Texas would not disappear, as the Dallas Mavericks-affiliated team took a 97-94 edge into the final quarter.
“We had to make some adjustments in the fourth quarter and we did that and it worked out in our favor,” Jones said about how the Hustle responded from losing the lead in the third period of play.
Texas led for a good share of the fourth quarter, but the Hustle’s Marcus Keene converted a traditional three-point play to give the Hustle a 119-118 lead with 4:04 remaining that they would not relinquish.
The Hustle closed out the final 1:40 of the game on an 8-0 run for the final result.
Memphis set new franchise records for free throws made (41) and attempts (47), connecting on an 87.2 percent clip.
Ivan Rabb scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds for the Hustle and now has posted “20-10” performances in each of his four appearances, each of which are victories. Tarik Phillip posted a new G League career-high of 23 points to go with three assists and three steals on 9-of-15 shooting.
Mavericks’ assignee Frank Jackson led the Legends with a game-high 35 points, which marks a season-high for any Hustle opponent.
In addition to the road trip to Oklahoma City and after that to Northern Arizona, Memphis plays in the NBA G League Showcase in Las Vegas. Following two games there, Memphis heads to California for games at South Bay and Stockton before returning home to play Jan. 3 in a rematch with Stockton.
RABB NAMED G LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Memphis Grizzlies assignee Ivan Rabb Monday was named the NBA G League Player of the Week for games played from Dec. 3-9. Rabb is the first player in Hustle franchise history to receive the honor.
In three games last week, his first with the Hustle this season, Rabb averaged 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 56.6 percent from the field, 54.5 percent from three-point range and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line, while the Hustle won three straight game. In Saturday’s win at Austin, Rabb scored a career-high 31 points and recorded a Hustle team season-high 14 rebounds to go with three assists while shooting 12-of-18 from the field, two-for-three from three-point range.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.