Thabo Sefolosha poked the ball away near halfcourt, Reggie Jackson corralled it during the scramble and, together, they were off for a two-on-one fastbreak.
But as Sefolosha and the Celtics defender barreled down the lane, Jackson floated toward the left wing, with the ball, and a look of confidence.
Right in front of Scott Brooks and the Thunder bench, Jackson, a career 25 percent 3-point shooter, opted for the long-range bomb instead of the higher-percentage drive.
And why not?
During the Thunder’s 119-96 whooping of Boston on Sunday in OKC, Jackson was scorching hot in the early minutes.
The game was less than six minutes old. He was already 3-of-3 for eight points. His shot felt good in pregame. His confidence was flowing.
So Jackson unleashed the two-on-one 3-pointer that basketball purists loathe.
Splash. Timeout Celtics. Seven minutes left in the first quarter: Reggie Jackson was outscoring the Celtics 11-9.
“Reggie started it off,” Scott Brooks said. “His stroke was right on target.”
And it didn’t leave him the rest of the night.
After that 11-point first quarter, Jackson reentered in the second, with the Celtics making a nice push, cutting the one-time 12-point lead to two.
He proceeded to drop in a silky mid-range, deftly attack the basket to earn four free throws and close out the half with another 26-foot three. Thunder lead back to double-digits.
“He was great,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, shaking his head. “He was great tonight.”
Overall, Jackson finished with a career-high 27 points in only 31 minutes, not needing to play during the entire fourth quarter of this blowout.
Even better, he did it on 9-of-12 shooting and 3-of-3 from deep, an efficient stat-line that's been hard for him to come by of late.
Since reinsertion into the starting lineup, Jackson was 23-of-63 overall (36 percent) in the five previous games. And at times, he looked frustrated.
“I thought he played really relaxed today,” Kendrick Perkins said. “Last couple games, I thought he been a little tense … He’s a score-first attack point guard. So we need that out of him.”
And moving forward, OKC hopes that’ll continue.
In the first portion of this breakout season, Jackson has made a clear jump. He went from relative unknown to legit sixth man candidate, with Brad Stevens even identifying Jackson’s development as the reason he considers OKC as “one of the two or three favorites to win the whole thing.”
But with Westbrook’s current absence, Jackson has a chance to make another leap, improving his game while proving he can be a legit starter in this league, battling some of the best point guards on a night-to-night basis.
“It’s not easy to come in and be the starting point guard on this team after playing behind an All-Star,” Kevin Durant said. “It’s hard to fill those shoes, but I think he’s doing a tremendous job.”