The emotion Reggie Jackson showed was real Saturday night when the final buzzer sounded on the Thunder’s 92-89 overtime win in Game 4 against Memphis.
The reserve guard had a rocky season that saw him shuffled from starter to sub, enjoy success and experience slumps and spearhead his team one night but get scolded by teammates and coaches the next.
So when he captained the Thunder’s late come-from-behind victory by scoring 17 of his game- and career-high 32 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Jackson was so jubilant he nearly was moved to tears.
“I never expected something like this to happen, especially in these playoffs,” Jackson said.
Jackson made up for off shooting nights by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who combined to score 30 points on 11-for-45 shooting. Jackson, who went 11-for-16 from the floor, scored two more points than his All-Star teammates on 29 fewer shots.
As impressive as anything was the composure Jackson showed in overtime after mistakenly heaving a 61-foot shot with three seconds showing on the game clock in regulation. After watching his ill-advised potential game-winner fall well short, Jackson dropped to the floor, slapped his hands on the hardwood and shook his head. He then screamed several times as he made his way to the bench, where he then slapped his hand against a chair while teammates tried to calm him.
“I was OK with it,” Jackson said of his emotions after that final shot in regulation. “Actually, what happened is I forgot (the Grizzlies) shot the ball early with a seven-second differential. I guess my point guard awareness has got to get better. I turned and I knew I was picking up the ball so the best thing to do is just try to give it a chance. Heave it. I didn’t want to get a travel and give them the ball back under our basket. I was hoping maybe Kevin would go catch it and put it away.”