Reggie To The Rescue
By Randy Renner
Thunder backup point guard Reggie Jackson had a game for the ages in OKC's 92-89 overtime win Saturday night in Memphis scoring more points (32) by himself than his superstar teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (30) did combined.
"You have to live in the moment and you have to have fun with game," Jackson said of his 11-for-16 shooting night.
Jackson had more fun that just about anyone and as soon as the final horn sounded Durant was the first to grab Jackson and give him a big hug.
"He made some huge, huge plays," Durant said a few minutes later in the interview room. "I'm proud of him."
"Reggie played an outstanding basketball for us tonight," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was able to attack and finish around the rim. He did a great job of giving us an offensive lift. Reggie stepped up and played a great game."
Jackson was solid in Game 1 with nine points and eight rebounds but disappeared, along with the rest of the bench in Game 2 and 3. Tonight his 32 points are tied for the 2nd most by a bench player in the last seven years in the NBA playoffs and with his 32 points and nine rebounds he joins Manu Ginobili as the only players coming off the bench with that type of stat line in the last 25 years.
It's also a career high for him.
Durant and Westbrook on the other hand continued to struggle with their shots. They each scored 15 points, KD on 5-for-21 shooting and Russ on 6-for-24. It's just the second time in the 474 games those two have played together that both finished shooting less than 30 percent.
The pair also accounted for 12 of the Thunder's 21 turnovers.
But they also contributed to the win, finding ways to impact the game in a positive way. Durant pulled down 13 rebounds, had two steals and a couple of blocks. Westbrook had nine rebounds and seven assists.
The Thunder defense was outstanding most of the night holding the Grizzlies to 37.2 percent shooting though there was a major lapse in the fourth quarter when the Thunder blew a 14-point lead and almost let the game slip away.
Would have let it slip away except Jackson simply wouldn't let it happen. With the Thunder down five points in the closing seconds of regulation Jackson splashed a big three and followed that up with a steal from Beno Udrih and a lay-up to tie the game.
Jackson had eight points in the overtime and the Thunder made some critical stops as they corrected the mistakes from the fourth quarter.
But it was Jackson who provided some lightning for the Thunder and hopefully his spark will not only have saved the game but the series as well.