TULSA — In crunch time, with Thursday's preseason game on the line, Reggie Jackson struggled. Postgame, no one was denying that.
After he made a smooth left-handed layup in traffic with 1:10 to play, putting the Thunder up one on the Pelicans, the next three Oklahoma City possessions went as follows:
— Jackson traveled on the low block.
— Jackson missed a 14-foot floater off the side of the backboard.
— Jackson missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the top of the key.
Moments later, Jeremy Lamb had a desperation 3-pointer blocked at the buzzer, clinching the Thunder's 105-102 loss to New Orleans on Thursday night at the BOK Center.
But Jackson's three empty trips were the backbreakers.
“Tonight, he had a rough game,” coach Scott Brooks admitted. “But he still fought.”
And in reality, with this still being the preseason, that's all Brooks truly cared about.
The results weren't nearly as important as the situation and the experience gained by the young Thunder point guard.
“Kevin (Durant) wasn't in the game, so it put Serge (Ibaka) and Reggie into a position that they're going to continue to get better in,” Brooks said. “Reggie has improved a lot, but he's still only a third-year player.”