For the second straight game Tuesday, the backup point guard minutes were awarded to second-year Thunder guard Reggie Jackson rather than Eric Maynor.
Coach Scott Brooks played Jackson 13 minutes in the Thunder's 103-97 loss at Miami, and Jackson scored three points with two assists, one rebound and one turnover. Maynor, who has been the incumbent primary backup when healthy, did not play.
Brooks, who throughout the preseason said the two were in an open battle for the backup minutes behind Russell Westbrook, would not say whether the job now belongs to Jackson. Brooks said only that he's giving Jackson an opportunity.
“I tell all of our guys to be ready,” Brooks said. “You don't know when you're going to get called, but when your name is called you have to give yourself a chance to do well. And Reggie has been working hard. He's had a good couple of stints down in the D-League and he gave us good minutes (against Miami). We'll see how it goes going forward.”
Jackson said after Tuesday's game that his playing time was unexpected and that Brooks hadn't spoken to him about a permanent switch. But Jackson has performed admirably in recent weeks, both with the Thunder and with the team-owned Tulsa 66ers of the NBA D-League. Last Saturday, Jackson scored a D-League season-high 37 points. One night earlier, Jackson scored 27 points with seven rebounds and nine assists. His performances earned him Performer of the Week honors.
Maynor, meanwhile, has struggled to regain his 2010-11 form after tearing his ACL nine games into last season. In 26 games, Maynor has averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 assists and one turnover while shooting a career-low 31.3 percent.
DURANT CAN'T DODGE FOUL TROUBLE AGAINST MIAMI
Kevin Durant was saddled yet again by foul trouble against Miami on Tuesday, the regular season rematch of last year's NBA Finals.
Durant was called for three fouls in the first half, which forced him to the bench for the final 3:16 of the opening stanza, and finished with four. The reigning three-time scoring champ had just eight points in the first half mostly because of the infractions.
“It slowed me down early,” Durant said. “In the first half I wasn't in the game. It took me out of the game. I think I was a little too aggressive, I guess. But in the second half I just played my game. I was able to put my team in a position to win, but unfortunately we didn't come out on top.”
Durant shook off the early foul trouble and went on to score 25 of his game-high 33 points in the second half. Durant's foul rate against the Heat, however, has become an issue. Durant is averaging four fouls over the past six games against Miami, which includes the five-game Finals series.
“Well, I'm just going to continue to play aggressive,” Durant said when asked how to deal with the foul trouble against Miami. “Every time we come in here I play a little too aggressive, I guess. I got to calm down.”
Tuesday's showdown between the Thunder and Heat generated a 6.0 overnight rating, making it the fourth highest-rated NBA regular season game ever on ABC, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The game delivered a 23.2 rating in Oklahoma City, which is the highest-rated NBA regular season game on ABC ever in the OKC market. In Tulsa, the game delivered a 10.9 rating, also the highest-rated regular season game for that market.
Miami also set a record for the highest-rated regular season ABC game in its market with a 15.9 rating.
Durant on a possible Thunder-Heat rematch in the NBA Finals — “Of course you would love to see that matchup again. I would love to see it.”
By Darnell Mayberry