Two games does not a season make.
But after a pair of NBA Development League contests some themes have started to develop around the Idaho Stampede.
First and foremost, Idaho has a winning streak. The Stampede defeated the Bakersfield Jam 107-97 on Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena to improve to 2-0.
Last season, Idaho began 1-12 and didnt put together back-to-back wins until Jan. 3.
To be able to close out these two wins says a lot, second-year coach Michael Peck said. We have a young team. Not one starter had D-League experience before this weekend.
Heres a look at some of the other story lines to follow as the season progresses:
GUARD PLAY: Pierre Jackson, the Stampedes top pick in this years draft, and Dee Bost, who attended the Portland Trail Blazers training camp, are the engine that will motor this years team.
And that engine can go from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat.
Me and Dee are both comfortable on and off the ball, said Jackson, who finished with a game-high 32 points after scoring 29 in the opener.
Its a lot of fun, said Bost, who had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Its going to be tough for people to cover both of us. Were two quick guards, and hes a great scorer. Its just been fun out there.
BIGS COMING UP BIG: Last season, there were times when the Stampede simply werent able to compete against other teams bigger players inside.
As long as Richard Howell and Dallas Lauderdale are in uniform, that shouldnt be a problem this season.
The two have displayed physicality and athleticism.
Me and Dallas, we want to play physical. We feel like that benefits us, Howell said.
Howell notched his second double-double Saturday, with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Lauderdale went 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. After going 5-for-5 on Friday night, Lauderdale has yet to miss a shot.
An almost comical side note to Saturdays game: Bakersfield trailed by double digits late, and it resorted to a Hack-a-Dallas strategy, fouling Lauderdale even as he stood alone without the ball.
It might be the last time teams try that strategy, however. Lauderdale finished 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
We had faith in Dallas, and he knocked them down, Jackson said.
HERES TO THEIR HEALTH: Injuries can derail any team, in any sport.
Two games into the season, its already an issue for the Stampede.
Forward Kellen Thornton missed the first two games after leaving Thursdays practice with dizziness. Idaho will wait until Portland, its NBA affiliate, signs off on Thorntons health before playing him.
Guard Reggie Hamilton sat out Saturdays game with knee pain that could limit him early in the season.
Then the team lost forward EJ Singler in the second period after he suffered an injury above his left eye that took 10 stitches to close.
Singler should be able to play in Idahos next game, but Peck said injuries are already a concern.
This usually doesnt happen until February or March, Peck said, adding that he has at least one player on his radar who might be added, if necessary.
COMPETITIVE FIRE: Maybe the most impressive aspect of the Stampedes first two wins was the way they dealt with adversity. Idaho trailed by 15 points in Fridays opener, but clawed back to take control of the game.
On Saturday night, Idaho battled through injury woes and foul trouble and still came away with a win.
It was tough, but weve all been in this kind of situation before, Jackson said. We played together, and thats all you want from your team, to play together and pull the win out.
We know our team identity. Weve got a really scrappy team.
Scrappy enough to pull out a win with six eligible players at the end of the game after Howell fouled out.
Thats something thats going to make us tougher down the road, Howell said.
NOTE: Idahos next game is Saturday against the Reno Bighorns. The game time has been changed to 3 p.m., and fans wearing blue and orange can receive discounted tickets.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424