Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC will rely heavily upon Spurs killer Reggie Jackson

In four meetings with the Spurs this season, Jackson averaged 21.2 points on 68 percent shooting. Besides the league’s MVP — and even including him on a couple occasions — Jackson was the best player on the floor during those games, all Thunder wins.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 18, 2014

James Harden is in Houston and Serge Ibaka is out with an injury.

But you’d have a hard time convincing Spurs coach Gregg Popovich that the Big Three in Oklahoma City is lacking a third wheel.

“If anybody watched our games, they watched Reggie Jackson basically be the Spurs killer any time we played them,” Popovich told reporters in advance of Monday’s series opener.

In four meetings with the Spurs this season, Jackson averaged 21.2 points on 68 percent shooting. Besides the league’s MVP — and even including him on a couple occasions — Jackson was the best player on the floor during those games, all Thunder wins.

“He kicked our (tail),” Popovich said after the initial beating, when Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in a dominant fourth quarter.

“He’s a confident young man,” a frustrated but impressed Popovich said after Jackson’s third San Antonio explosion, a 27-point, eight-assist, no-turnover outing back in January. “He’s taking no prisoners. He’s not deferring to anyone,”

Nationally, Jackson’s offensive talents may remain a bit underrated. But in San Antonio, the capabilities of this third-year guard are well-known.

And with Jackson expected and needed to take a bigger role in this series — stepping into the third banana role on a title contender — there’s little doubt Popovich is concocting some sort of counter. But Jackson’s success is less scheme-related and more personnel-driven.

Stronger and longer, Jackson has powered through and gone by Spurs backup Patty Mills at will in their matchups. When the floor is filled with bench players, OKC has done a great job of identifying the mismatch, spreading the floor and letting Jackson operate.

But even with the other stars in and Mills out of the game, Jackson has remained effective. Against the Spurs, OKC went with a two-point guard lineup a ton, something Brooks is likely to employ plenty in this series.


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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