Reggie Jackson has played solid in two games trying to replace Russell Westbrook. Let’s see — 32 points, 10-of-24 shooting, 8-of-8 from the foul line, two steals, six rebounds, four assists, five turnovers. Solid for a guy tossed into the frying pan.
But here’s the best news going for the Thunder. He’s playing with, I’d say, 90 percent fearlessness. And Jackson can play better. When he gets that fearlessness to 100 percent, and starts getting to the basket the way he’s shown he can do, then he’ll be really productive. Not Russell Westbrook productive. But productive.
“I thought Reggie was good,” Scotty Brooks said of Game 4 in the Rocket series Monday night. “He’s in a very tough situation. He’s handled it well in two games. Give him a lot of credit. He played good basketball. He was solid on both ends, and that’s all we want from him.”
Jackson’s plus/minus was +3 in Game 3 and -9 in Game 4. Jackson was part of the starting lineup getting avalanched at the start of each half in Game 4.
Jackson hasn’t played great. Hasn’t always made the right decision. But he’s been solid. The Thunder really can’t ask for much more.
“We want him to play solid like he’s done the last two games,” Jackson said. “He took a couple of tough shots, but other than, I thought he was really good. He put in a position to win the game.”
Jackson, of course, was in the firestorm of the game’s final play. As the Thunder’s final possession broke down, with Kevin Durant trying to get free of Francisco Garcia and the Rockets leading by two, Jackson finally drove the lane and put up a shot over Houston center Omer Asik. Some said Jackson deserved to get a whistle, that he drew a foul from Asik, but I think it was a good no-call. Asik went straight up, or as straight as a guy can go. Too many whistles in my opinion, anyway. I’m not going to gripe when there’s a no-call on body contact. But still, a good effort by Jackson to get the ball on the rim, which he did, good enough for Serge Ibaka to have a point-blank putback. Not Jackson’s fault that it missed.
“Going forward, if he just plays solid like that, we’re going to be in good shape,” Brooks said.