Tuesday, October 19

The Clippers ’empowered’ Reggie Jackson, and that confidence has paid off during these NBA playoffs.

It wasn’t that long ago that Reggie Jackson was working in the dark with the Pistons. Jackson played in Detroit from 2015-20, posting decent but mostly empty numbers for a team that, at best, served as a first-round warm-up for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Jackson’s time in Motor City ended when the franchise reached a purchase agreement with the veteran shooting guard in February 2020. He joined the Clippers shortly after leaving the Pistons, but did not receive consistent minutes with Los Angeles and was cut to garbage time when the team blew a 3-1 lead against the Nuggets in Florida. “bubble.”

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However, with freshman coach Tyronn Lue, Jackson’s points have been anything but empty. The 31-year-old has been a huge contributor throughout Los Angeles ‘playoff streak, including the Clippers’ 106-92 win over the Suns on Thursday night, which kept them from falling into a 3 hole. -0 in the Western Conference finals.

Jackson scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting and hit key shots to keep Phoenix at arm’s length. When the Suns cut the Clippers’ lead to six with seven minutes left in the final frame, Jackson responded by finishing a difficult layup and punching a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions. He scored 10 of his team’s last 17 points.

This latest performance has just continued what has been an electric stretch for Jackson. Entering Thursday’s contest, Jackson was averaging 17.3 points, 3.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 15 postseason games while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from three-point range. He has been a reliable offensive option alongside his close friend Paul George with Kawhi Leonard offside and has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates.

“They’ve empowered me. Honestly, this team has empowered me. This organization has empowered me from the moment I’m here,” Jackson said after Game 3. “From playing early, not playing, having DNP, the roles changed throughout. time. year … They were really our leaders. Kawhi, Paul, Pat [Beverley], and then collectively everyone, the coaches, was just with me about being aggressive. Stay aggressive, stay aggressive.

“Throughout my career, trying to always make the right play, not necessarily just being myself and going out and playing the game, makes it a bit difficult. But the more I remain myself, the more this team empowers me to be. “. I have been able to find success myself, fortunately, I have been able to stay healthy. “

Lue always had a high opinion of Jackson, even before he exploded in the postseason. Lue told reporters that he saw Jackson as a potential starter going into the 2020-21 season due to his fit alongside Leonard and George, and Jackson made the most of it when they called his number.

“He did a great job, and our numbers with him as the starter were off the charts, with Pat as well. But offensively, we really took off,” Lue said. “It’s been great. As soon as he took on that role, he made it easier for PG, he made it easier for Kawhi. We really started to play a great offense, to have a great offense, and we never stopped from there. Just happy so him, he’s had a great year. “

Once a guy who landed in the good stats-bad team category, Jackson has become a valuable piece of a true championship contender. Lue and the Clippers gave Jackson a chance, and he has been rewarding that confidence ever since.


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