Facing the prospect of being eliminated from the NBA G League playoffs with a loss Monday night, the Memphis Hustle kept their hopes alive with a 119-103 victory over the Agua Caliente Clippers in the Florida bubble. Memphis’ offense was keyed by 70 points from its reserves, who knocked down 12 three-pointers.
Another plus for the Hustle Monday night was the quick start from a team that had struggled with positive play early in contests.
“We got off to a good start finally,” said Hustle coach Jason March. “I think that helped us and gave us a little momentum. With the ebb and flow of the game they came back at us. To this team’s character in this tough stretch, we continue to fight, we keep battling and it was definitely a team effort. I’m proud of the whole group.”
Two-way addition Sean McDermott got Memphis out to a fast start, as well. McDermott scored seven points in the first nine minutes of play as the Hustle took a 28-23 lead after one quarter.
“He plays really hard,” March said of McDemott. “He runs the lanes and he’s such a live body. What I’ve been impressed with him so far here is the fact that he’s not hesitating about shooting the ball.”
The Clippers came back to get within five points at 56-51 at halftime, fueled by a 12-2 run in the second quarter, and took a 67-66 advantage midway through the third quarter before the Hustle retook the lead at 85-81 entering the fourth quarter.
The Hustle led 101-94 with 5:21 to play in the fourth before Shaq Buchanan and McDermott combined to score 15 of the final 27 points of the game.
McDermott finished with 21 points, two rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes. Buchanan finished with 19 points, five rebounds and one assist. Ahmad Caver added 18 points, five assists and four rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting.
Memphis improved to 4-8 for the bubble season with three games remaining. With the Lakeland Magic’s 110-95 victory over Greensboro Monday night, the Clippers were eliminated from playoff contention and Memphis’ hopes for a playoff spot remained alive.
The Hustle play the Westchester Knicks Tuesday night. Games the Hustle play are broadcast at www.grindcitymedia.com.