Through three quarters, Pierre Jackson was having a rough night against the Tulsa 66ers.
While the 5-foot-11 guard was on pace to surpass his season average of 30.7 points per game, he was shooting just 7-for-18 from the field and had failed to knock down a three, missing all seven of his attempts. He also turned the ball over five times, which, even by his standards, was a lot. As a result of his sloppy performance, the Idaho Stampede were losing, and quite badly at that, facing a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
But then, the D-League's leading scorer got it rolling.
It started with a three at the 9:28 mark and then just under three minutes later, he scored again, this time on a fast-break layup. From then on, the basket looked like an ocean for Jackson and he couldn't miss. He kept attacking the paint relentlessly and hit two more threes in the final five minutes, giving him 21 points in the fourth quarter on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from the three.
When the final buzzer sounded, Jackson finished with 46 points - his second 40-point game of the week and his sixth of the season.
Unfortunately for Jackson, it came in a losing effort. Despite scoring 49 points as a team in the fourth quarter and taking a one point lead with 1:36 to go after Jackson hit a three off of a high screen-and-roll, the 66ers rallied back and made some big shots down the stretch, giving them a 131-128 victory.
While Jackson tidied up his game in the fourth, committing no turnovers and taking good shots, there was one thing he struggled with: Free throws. In the fourth quarter alone, he gave up three points at the line and on the night as a whole, he shot just 15-for-22 from the charity stripe, which, as a 73.5 percent shooter on the season, was quite unusual.
lost by three and I missed seven freethrows!! SEVEN!! Smh ridiculous ... Just horrible man..— Pierre Jackson (@PierreJackson55) January 26, 2014
If you were looking for a prototypical performance from Jackson, this may have been it. To start the game, he couldn't buy a shot, but that didn't phase him as he continued to jack them up with supreme confidence that he would make the next. There were some bad shot-attempts, passes and, yes, forced plays, but in the end, he showed off why he is the top prospect in the D-League, by putting the team on his back and pouring on the points in a way nobody else can. To add to that, he displayed his pesky defense, which ended up with him getting five steals, and he had some nice assists, finding teammates on rolls to the basket and backdoor cuts when the 66ers were ball-watching. He also reminded us that, no matter what, you shouldn't count him out of a game.
It's just too bad we can't see all that on a bigger stage.