The Memphis Hustle (21-18) lost a 137-132 decision against the Long Island Nets (24-14) Sunday afternoon at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Memphis remains one game up for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference while Long Island won its third straight game and moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Tarik Phillip had the best performance of his career in his return to New York. The Brooklyn native scored a career-high 48 points on 16-of-25 shooting to go with six rebounds, four assists, a career-high four blocks and two steals.
His scoring total is the third highest in the NBA G League this season and the Hustle now own two of the three highest scoring individual games during the 2018-19 season (Tyler Harvey, 58 at Iowa on Feb. 2).
Phillip had 39 of his points in the second half, marking a new NBA G League record for points in a half and had 22 in the fourth quarter. He shot 13-of-17 and knocked down all six of his three-point attempts in the half. The West Virginia product is averaging 20.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.29 steals and 1.14 blocks in the month of Feb. .
Long Island, along with Memphis, entered today’s game as one of the league’s best offensive teams (116.5 ppg) and it was evident during the first half as the Nets led 76-61 at halftime. However, the Nets did their damage from behind the three-point line, despite shooting just 31.0 percent from three on the season entering the game, and stepped up by knocking down 11-of-22 threes in the first half and eight of their first 14. Theo Pinson was a large part of the effort, hitting 4-of-6 and scoring 14 of his 17 first half points in the opening frame.
The Nets finished the half shooting 25-of-40 overall, including 12-of-18 in the second quarter. Memphis shot a respectable 46.4 percent but managed just 3-of-10 from long range.
The Hustle set a new franchise-high for offensive rebounds (23) in a game and, as a result, attempted a franchise record 115 field goal attempts (53-115, .461).
Justin Tillman had his best game in a Hustle uniform, posting 19 points and seven rebounds. Both two-way players were productive, finishing with 14 points apiece. Julian Washburn grabbed 10 rebounds to collect a double-double and Yuta Watanabe added seven boards, six assists and two blocks. Markel Crawford (16 points) and Dusty Hannahs (13 points) scored in double figures off the bench.
The Hustle return to Landers Center on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. to take on Western Conference contender Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the third installment of Dog Days of Winter.