While all eyes have been focused on Kevin Durant during his remarkable scoring binge this month, lost in the shuffle is the brilliant play of Reggie Jackson.
The third-year pro out of Boston College has been more than just a backup plan for Oklahoma City while Russell Westbrook continues to recover from knee surgery. Jackson is gaining a reputation around the league as an assassin, a player who doesn’t seem to be fazed by the big moment. Just ask the San Antonio Spurs.
During Wednesday’s nationally televised showdown with the Spurs, Jackson gave Durant all the help he needed as he matched his season high with 27 points while handing out eight assists.
Durant and Jackson combined for 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting in a 35-point fourth quarter for Oklahoma City (33-10).
”He has had great games against the Spurs,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks told the Associated Press. ”I can’t put my finger on it. We want him to play aggressive basketball on both ends of the floor. I thought he did a good job of finding spots on the floor that he can finish around the rim.”
Jackson averages 13.2 points, but has scored 23.7 points against the Spurs this season.
In the fourth quarter against the Spurs Wednesday, Jackson put on a show. He had 11 consecutive points early in the fourth, blowing past Tony Parker for layups to give the Thunder a 94-89 lead with 8 minutes left. When the Spurs tried to switch on the pick-and-rolls, Jackson dropped a jumper right over Tim Duncan.
Jackson’s superb play down the stretch allowed Durant to bust out of his mini funk and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the deal in San Antonio. It was the Thunder’s third victory over the Spurs this season, a statement game that should reverberate around the league.
You get the sense that these two teams could meet at some point during the playoffs. The Spurs better figure out a way to solve the Reggie Jackson puzzle.