Salt Lake City — The Memphis Hustle (28-21) clinched the franchise’s first NBA G League playoff berth with a 131-127 overtime win over the Salt Lake City Stars (26-23) Tuesday night at Lifetime Activities Center. Memphis trailed by as many as 24 midway through the third quarter and stormed back to win, tying the largest comeback in franchise history. With the win, Memphis also clinches the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
Grizzlies assignee Tyler Dorsey scored 28 of his 34 points in the second half and overtime to aid the Hustle comeback and also finished with eight boards, four assists and three steals. Fellow assignee Jevon Carter set the tone in overtime, opening things up with a three-pointer to take Memphis’ first lead since the 5:36 mark of the first quarter. Grayson Allen responded with a three to tie things up before the teams traded baskets. Tarik Phillip gave Memphis the lead for good with a finger roll off a give-and-go from Carter before Dorsey iced the game with a pair of free throws.
In the first half, the Stars were in control. Salt Lake City went on a 10-0 run out of the first timeout to take a 29-19 lead before leading 35-28 at the end of the first quarter. In the second, the Stars opened up a double digit lead before closing the final 4:08 of the half on a 16-4 run to take a 76-55 advantage into halftime. The Stars shot 56.2 percent from both the field and three-point range. Additionally, the Stars shot 12-of-15 from the charity stripe in the second quarter alone.
The Stars continued to get the best of the Hustle to start the third, extending its lead to as much as 93-69 with 5:25 remaining. The Hustle then stormed back with a 25-5 run over the next 4:42 to cut the lead to 98-94 before trailing by nine entering the fourth.
Salt Lake City pushed the lead back to 118-105 with 6:48 left in the game. The Hustle continued to chip away and eventually cut the lead to as little as three before a Grayson Allen dunk put the home team back in front at 122-117 with 3:01 remaining. The Stars were held scoreless in the final three minutes and Dorsey knocked down a three and a pair of free throws to force overtime.
The Hustle shot 52.5 (21-40 FG) percent in the second half, including 53.5 percent (8-15 3P) from three-point range, and didn’t miss in overtime (3-3 FG). Most importantly, Memphis knocked down 17-of-18 free throws in the half and finished 23-of-24 from the free throw line for the game.
Carter finished with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds. Phillip scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting (3-4 3P). Julian Washburn knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers on his way to 16 points. Yuta Watanabe (13 points) also reached double figures.
All five starters for the Stars scored 14 points or more led by another big effort from two-way player Tyler Cavanaugh, who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Allen followed suit with 20 points of his own while Naz Mitrou-Long added 17 points.