Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Jackson injects some offensive life into starting lineup

For the first time in his career, Reggie Jackson started alongside Russell Westbrook. He replaced the previously ineffective Thabo Sefolosha and injected some needed offensive punch into the lineup.
by Anthony Slater Modified: May 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm •  Published: May 25, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots over San Antonio's Tony Parker (9) during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 25, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots over San Antonio's Tony Parker (9) during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 25, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Serge Ibaka was back, which meant Serge Ibaka was starting. That was a no-brainer for Scott Brooks.

But there were two changes to Brooks’ starting lineup before Sunday night’s 106-97 momentum-shifting win for the Thunder — the second not as loud or heroic but nearly as impactful as Ibaka’s triumphant return.

For the first time in his career, Reggie Jackson started alongside Russell Westbrook. He replaced the previously ineffective Thabo Sefolosha and injected some needed offensive punch into the lineup, playing a game-high 37 minutes and scoring 15 points — six more than three OKC starters combined for in the first two games.

And moving forward, Jackson solidified himself as the team’s new starting shooting guard.

“Is he going to remain?” Brooks quipped when asked if Jackson would stay the starter. “What do you think?”

The only worry with Jackson — and the only argument for Sefolosha — is Reggie’s spotty and sometimes glaringly bad defense this season. And placing him on the scorching hot Danny Green started as a concern and turned into a nightmare in the early going.

Two of the Spurs’ first three baskets were Green 3-pointers — his 12th and 13th of the series — coming off defensive errors by Jackson.

“I was frustrated with myself,” he said.

But after that, Jackson cranked it up on that end. With Ibaka roaming the paint behind him, Jackson was able to play up on Green, pressuring the standstill shooter and forcing him into more uncomfortable looks off the dribble. After making those first two shots, Green finished 1-of-10 in the game.

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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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