Reggie Jackson plays Mr. June again in Clippers’ Game 3 win
His night was complete, his job done well, so all that was left for Reggie Jackson as he was leaving the Staples Center court following yet another sterling Game 3 performance by the Clippers was for the guard to share a hug with happy team owner Steve Ballmer.
Jackson had delivered big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter Thursday night in this best-of-seven Western Conference finals, each basket more important than the previous, all of them needed to help the Clippers slow the momentum that the Phoenix Suns were building in the second half.
So, after he rattled in 10 of his 23 points in the fourth, Jackson and Ballmer embraced, the two of them swaying and smiling.
“They’ve empowered me,” Jackson said. “Honestly, this team has empowered me, this organization has empowered me since the time that I have been here. From playing early, to not playing, having DNPs, roles changing throughout the year. I think once I started to find some comfortability and just practicing and having roles throughout the game change, finding some success.”
His team was reeling some in the fourth quarter, the Clippers’ comfortable 18-point lead whittled to six behind a 12-0 Suns run.
The Clippers were on the brink yet jumped off the court with a Game 3 win that made the rollicking Staples Center crowd scream, sing and, yes, believe.
But after a defensive stop, Jackson scored on a layup off a pass from Paul George.
A few seconds later, Jackson took a pass from George and drilled a three-pointer. Jackson stood and pounded his chest after the ball had settled into the net for an 11-point Clippers cushion.
“I definitely try to put in a lot of work throughout my career to be ready for those moments,” Jackson said. “But I’ve been working on my mind the last few years trying to be mentally strong. But you’re only as great as your team, as your team wants you to be, as they empower you. So, like I said, hats off to them. They’ve been pushing me to just be my best and I’ve been fortunate to be playing well. But without them this doesn’t happen.”
Jackson made another three-pointer with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter and scored on a floater in the lane with 2:40 remaining.
He made four of seven shots from the field in the fourth, two of three on three-pointers.
For the game, Jackson was nine-for-17 shooting from the field. He had three assists, two steals and was a plus-12.
Video highlights from the Los Angeles Clippers’ 106-92 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on June 24, 2021, at Staples Center.
“Coming into the season when we first signed Reggie, our coaching staff, we talked about him potentially being a starter because of how we wanted to play and getting PG and Kawhi [Leonard] the ball in their spots,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “So, you know, unfortunately Pat Beverley got hurt a few times this season and Reggie became a starter. He did a great job. Our numbers with him as a starter were off the charts. … He’s been great.
“You know, as soon as he stepped into that role, made it easier for PG, made it easier for Kawhi, having a great offense and just never stopped from there. I’m just happy for him. He’s had a heck of a year, just got to continue to keep pushing.”
After losing the first two games of this series — just like they did in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks and in the second round against the Utah Jazz — the Clippers have won the third game and now trail the Suns, 2-1.
Game 4 is here Saturday, and the Clippers will be ready to put up another fight because that is what they do.
“This team is resilient,” Jackson said. “This team is resilient, we always believe, we never give in, we never say die. Like I said, we never really have doubt. We continue to just chip away, try to chip away, try to figure out ways we can be better, try to figure out ways to impose our will on the opponent.”
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