The Idaho Stampede kicked off their 2013-2014 campaign with eight consecutive victories, good enough to put them at the top of the NBA D-League with the best record. But recently, things have kind of gone pear shaped. On December 18th, they lost to the Bakersfield Jam by three points. Then, on the 21st, they got blown out by the D-Fenders and on the 22nd, the Warriors took care of business and beat them by four in Santa Cruz.
If you've lost count, that's three road losses in a row.
One of the reasons for their recent struggles was the play of Pierre Jackson. The 5-11 point guard - who is averaging nearly 30 points per game on the season - scored a combined 29 points on 9-for-35 shooting over those last two games and without him to lead the way, the Stampede were missing a huge scoring punch. But on Friday night, Jackson found his game again, and in the process, helped get the Stampede back on track in a double overtime thriller against the Texas Legends.
In 44 minutes off the bench, Jackson scored a game-high 41 points on 15-for-26 shooting from the floor and 6-for-12 shooting from three. Not only that, but he was incredibly clutch, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, hitting two free throws with 27.7 seconds left in regulation to tie it up and force overtime, as well as a jumper in the second overtime, which put the Stampede up by one with 11.6 seconds remaining.
Idaho went on to win the game by a final score of 129-126. Other notable performances for the Stampede were Dee Bost's near triple-double with 19 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, as well as Kellen Thornton's 20 points in 14 minutes off the bench.
If you didn't watch our game tonight you missed out!! Great win for us!!!!— Pierre Jackson (@PierreJackson55) December 28, 2013
Despite that short run of poor performances, Jackson is still averaging 29.7 points in December on 44% shooting from the field and 41% from three. He's also scored 40 or more points in three of the Stampede's nine games this month, which can be matched by...well, nobody.
At 9-3, the Stampede now have the D-League's third best record, trailing only the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Sioux Falls Skyforce. Pierre Jackson also finds himself as the second best prospect in the league, despite outplaying the top prospect, Devin Ebanks, on Friday night.
The Stampede have a couple of days off now before they host the L.A. D-Fenders at home on Monday. After losing to them by 30 points a week ago, expect Pierre Jackson and his team to be fired up.
Jackson's Highlights (41 points on 15-26 FG)