On Friday night, the fans in Idaho were treated to a thriller: A matchup between the D-League's two best scorers, which ended up going down to the wire.
On one side was the 5-foot-11 energizer bunny that is Pierre Jackson. While he had a quieter game than we're used to seeing from him - he scored 28 points on 12-for-28 shooting from the floor and struggled from the three, knocking down just one of his seven attempts - he had one of his most complete games to date by putting up eight assists, four rebounds and four steals. He received quite a lot of help from his teammates, too, with Kevin Murphy scoring 21 points off the bench and Richard Howell chipping in with 24 of his own.
But on the other side was Manny Harris, the D-League's second leading scorer who is fresh off of winning "Player of the Week" honors. As for his performance on the night, well, he had the best game of his young career. In 36 minutes, he broke the D-Fenders' franchise record for scoring in a single-game with 49 points. And he did so quite efficiently, shooting 18-for-26 from the floor and 11-12 from the charity stripe. Harris didn't put together the all-around effort that Jackson did (he had just six rebounds, three assists and three steals), but there was really no need, since nobody on the Stampede could cool him off all night long.
Good Game team lets get another one tomorrow!!!— Manny Harris (@313MannyHarris) January 11, 2014
Harris did the bulk of his damage in the opening quarter, when he scored 21 points, grabbed three offensive rebounds and dished out two assists. (Ironically, it was the only quarter on the night that the Stampede outscored the D-Fenders). He continued to give them fits as the night wore on with some balanced scoring and it proved to be too much for the Stampede, who went on to lose by a final score of 133-to-124.
During the Showcase, there were reports that NBA teams were meeting with Harris in the intent of signing him to a 10-day contract. One of the teams interested: The Oklahoma City Thunder, who are in need of a scoring punch with their recent loss of Russell Westbrook. While we wait to see if any of that comes to fruition, it's hard to imagine the former Wolverine staying around the D-League for much longer. He was recently named D-League Player of the Week and through 11 games on the season, he's averaging 28.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.3 steals on 47.1 percent shooting from the floor. He also finds himself as the fifth best player the D-League has to offer, according to the Prospect Watch list.