On Friday night, the L.A. D-Fenders made their way into Idaho and withstood a balanced Stampede attack, walking away with a 135-127 victory.
For the Stampede, they didn't have much time to dwell on the loss. Mere 24 hours later, they were set for another matchup against the exact same D-Fenders squad, except this time, they weren't going to let Terrence Williams have his way.
After watching him pour in 50 points on Friday, the Stampede's defense held the former first-round pick to 26 points on 10-for-33 shooting from the field. As the leading scorer on the team, forcing him into a woeful shooting night helped them bounce back and get a much needed victory, beating the D-Fenders by a final score of 127-123. Yet that wasn't the biggest takeaway from the game, as the Stampede got a huge boost from one of their own players in the scoring column: Kevin Murphy.
Murphy was drafted in the mid-second round of the 2012 Draft and found himself spending most of his rookie season in the D-League on assignment with the Reno Bighorns. However, after being included in the deal which brought Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors in the summer, he was cut from the team two weeks after the trade was made official. Instead of heading back to the D-League, Murphy initially took his talents to France to play for Strasbourg Illkirch-Graffenstaden, yet after a rough stretch with the team, the two sides decided to part ways and in his return to America, he joined the Idaho Stampede.
With a star-studded backcourt of Pierre Jackson and Dee Bost, Murphy has been coming off the bench for all but two of his games thus far with the Stampede, but it hasn't had any ill effect on his production. In 32.2 minutes per game, the shooting guard is averaging 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 50.3 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from the three. He has solidified his reputation of being one of the D-League's deadliest two-guards and on Saturday night, he had his most impressive performance yet.
In 47 minutes, Murphy scored a D-League season-high 51 points on 21-for-33 shooting from the field. He also had eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block in the Stampede's victory.
The Stampede got off to a shaky start in this one. Had Murphy not had it rolling early on, scoring 15 points in the opening quarter, they would've found themselves down big, as the rest of the team combined for just five points on 2-for-13 shooting. In the second quarter, Murphy continued to shoot the lights out, but thanks to some help from his teammates, they were able to outscore the D-Fenders by 12 points, cutting their deficit to just six at the half. In the final two quarters, they clamped down on the defensive end, holding Terrence Williams to nine points on 3-for-14 shooting, and shared the ball on offense, resulting in high percentage looks and their 15th win of the season.
Clearly Kevin Murphy has thrived in Mike Peck's system and for run-and-gun teams looking to add scoring depth in their backcourt, he could be a great pickup. Not only can he knock down threes at a high rate, but he has a nice in-between game and has shown the ability to finish at the rim, both in half-court sets and in transition, as you'll see in the video below.