Reggie Jackson gets his groove back in Clippers’ win over Wizards
Two hours before the Clippers played the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, Reggie Jackson was on the Crypto.com Arena court getting up shots. He started inside the lane, casually working on his stroke, each time making sure his follow-through was the same as the previous shot.
In his prior two games, Jackson’s shot had betrayed him, leaving the point guard in a mini-slump.
But Jackson got his stroke working against the Wizards, scoring 31 points and sealing the game with two late free throws to push the Clippers to a 115-109 win.
Jackson scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter. He completed his night going 12 for 21 from the field and five for nine from three-point range.
“Just fortunate to have the shots go in,” Jackson said. “I didn’t shoot it well the last few nights and I think indecisive, indecisive. … Other teams having different schemes and just not being as aggressive and being indecisive. For myself, I just wanted to have the same mentality. I like to joke with my teammates a lot. I tell them I don’t miss. I measure.”
He added seven assists, doing all his work in 40 minutes.
So much for getting some extra rest like Clippers coach Tyronn Lue claimed before the game.
“We can get him some rest tomorrow,” Lue said, laughing. “But, naw, I tried to get him out a couple of times. He said he felt good. I didn’t really see him get too tired. So, he was playing a great game. I thought he really controlled the game the whole night, scoring 31 points, but really taking over and dominating down the stretch. ... He can get some rest tomorrow.”
Nicoloas Batum had given the Clippers a 111-109 lead by hitting a three-pointer with 31.2 seconds left.
After Kristaps Porzingis missed a game-tying shot, Jackson got the rebound and was fouled with12.3 seconds left.
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As the crowd chanted, “Reggie … Reggie … Reggie,” he made both free throws, helping the Clippers break a two-game losing streak.
Jackson has been asked to carry a heavy load with stars Kawhi Leonard (right knee surgery) and Paul George (right elbow ulnar collateral ligament tear) out, and it appears to be taking a toll.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue agreed that Jackson “probably is” wearing down.
“And I’m probably wearing him down, playing him so many minutes,” Lue said. “But it’s just tough right now. If him and Marcus [Morris Sr.] don’t play well, it’s going to be tough for us to win games. So, we lean on Reggie a lot, we lean on Marcus a lot and it could be a lot for those guys, especially playing heavy minutes.”
For the season, Jackson is averaging 30.9 minutes per game.
He was off his game against the New York Knicks at home Sunday and at Golden State on Tuesday.
Jackson shot a combined six for 32 from the field and one for 13 from three-point range in those two games.
He scored a total of 15 points.
This is the same Jackson who scored 36 points on 14-for-30 shooting and four for eight on three-pointers against the Lakers last Thursday night.
“We got to find ways to try to get him out of games and our young guys to carry some of that weight, get back to playing good,” Lue said. “But we ask a lot of Reggie especially with our guys being out and he’s one guy that can run pick and roll and make plays for himself and other people. So, he’s one of the only guys that can do that right now, probably along with Amir [Coffey]. Amir can do it a little bit as well. So, I am wearing him down a little bit.”
Jackson started strong against the Wizards, making his first two shots, both three-pointers. He was three for four in the first quarter for eight points and handed out four assists.
He played nearly all of the first quarter, posting 10 minutes 47 seconds.
By the half, Jackson had 12 points, missing just one of his six shots and one of his two three-pointers.
Along with Morris scoring 18 points in the first half, the Clippers opened a 57-55 lead over the Wizards at the intermission.
The Clippers shot 54.5% from the field in the first half, 42.9% from three-point range in going six for 14.
Jackson’s poor play coincided with the Clippers playing poorly.
The L.A. Clippers hold Stephen Curry to 15 points but a late rally is thwarted by the Golden State Warriors, who win 112-97 on Tuesday night.
They lost to the Knicks and the Warriors, both of which came when Jackson was missing a lot of shots.
The Clippers gave up an average of 114 points per game in those two games and didn’t score over 100 points in either, averaging 95 points per game.
Despite all that, Jackson still wants to play.
“I called him in the office today and he said he feels good,” Lue said. “He said he got a little tired the last couple of games, but Reggie wants to play and he wants to compete and rarely wants to take off games. But we do got to do a better job just protecting him from himself and I got to do a better job with him. I can’t run him into the ground.”
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