When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?

When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?

When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?
When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was sidelined with lower back pain in the trip to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, leaving the reigning NBA-champion team without three key starters. Power forward Aaron Gordon (right heel strain) and shooting guard Jamal Murray (right hamstring injury) have previously been confirmed to be sidelined with injuries, and neither even traveled to Los Angeles with the team.

This has drawn attention to Reggie Jackson, the former Clippers starting point guard who is recognized for his performances in four NBA seasons in Los Angeles, including that memorable playoff trip in 2021. Reggie received a tribute video from the Clippers' home court, and then contributed such a performance that makes one wonder if he wants more tribute.

When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?

Reggie was traded to the Charlotte Hornets at last year's trade deadline in exchange for cash and a 2028 second-round pick and Mason Plumlee, and reached a buyout deal with the team on a last-year contract before joining hometown club Denver Nuggets. He contributed 35 points and 13 assists to a game-high 113-104 victory for the understaffed, underrested Nuggets team.

"It was definitely one of the best moments," Reggie said in the Nuggets' locker room after Monday night's game. 'Our main players are out of action and I think the win is really great for our team, we are united and we form a resilient team. ”

Reggie shot 15-of-19 from the field against the Clippers, who had won four of their previous five games and had the best defensive continuity in the NBA so far on Monday. But in the fourth quarter alone, Reggie surpassed the Clippers in goals (5-of-7) and assists (5 assists and 0 turnovers) for the Clippers (2 assists and 5 turnovers).

It was one of the best games of Reggie's career, and it was the third time he had scored at least 30 points and 10 assists in the same game, but it was the first time he had done so in regulation time.

The Clippers built an 11-point lead at one point in both the first and second halves. But each time Reggie led the Nuggets to erase the margin of points, it was a remake of all the comebacks and wins of his memorable Clippers career. Reggie beat nearly all of the Clippers' rotation players in the first half, scoring 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting at halftime to give the Nuggets a 58-56 lead at halftime. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue used more of a quick pick-and-roll against Reggie in the second half, which allowed the Nuggets to trail 77-88 into the final quarter.

"The first thing we said going into the fourth quarter was, 'We're still playing, we're still going to win, we just need to open up some space and play a little bit patient,'" Reggie explained after the game. 'The whole team worked together and we executed well. ”

For his old club, Reggie's outstanding performance tonight was another embarrassing night in an already low-end season. Although Reggie was nearly at the bottom of the league in pick-and-roll ball handler and singles efficiency last season, according to Synergy, he got what he wanted in this game. In Reggie's first offense in the fourth quarter, he and Jordan Jr. played a pick-and-roll that involved Clippers starter Terence Mann and backup center Daniel Theis in the offense. Mann switched to Jordan Jr., but Theis thought Mann would return to defending Reggie, giving Reggie an open three-pointer and setting the tone for the Nuggets' 36-16 fourth-quarter win over the Clippers.

It's not often that you see Lue on the sidelines as angry as he was at the start of the fourth quarter.

'We shouldn't have changed our guard when we were 11 points ahead, but we did. Both players missed and Reggie hit a three-pointer," Lue said disappointedly after Monday's game. "There was a lot of miscommunication on the pitch. When players are frustrated on the offensive end, they should be more aggressive on the defensive end. The defensive end is what really me off. But I'll take full responsibility and we're not going to play this style of play anymore. ”

Reggie has experienced what it feels like for a former Clippers point guard to return to his home court and desperately want to win. In January 2022, Patrick Beverley, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, scored his first away win against the Clippers, diching out a career-high 12 assists while also blocking Reggie Jackson and Eric Bledsoe.

"The Clippers were looking for another point guard because they said I wasn't a good playmaker," Beverley said about two years ago. "It feels good to lock Reggie and Bledsoe together. ”

On paper, the Clippers seem to have elevated Reggie's position. Last season, Reggie and John Wall were replaced by former Nuggets players Nashand Hyland and Westbrook, who, like Reggie, joined the Clippers on a mid-season buyout contract. This season, the Clippers got Harden, who eventually squeezed Westbrook out of the starting lineup and Hyland out of the rotation.

Reggie enjoyed beating the Clippers and had a smile on his lips after the Nuggets' two wins over the Clippers this season. Still, when asked about the Clippers' crunch time (the Clippers have a 2-7 record in games with a margin of five minutes or less in the final five minutes, the third-worst of any team in the NBA) and Harden's run-in (the Clippers' offense ranks fifth from the bottom in the NBA since Harden's debut), Reggie was serious.

"We tried to play physically, and we borrowed from the experience of several teams we've played before," Reggie said as he explained how the Nuggets' defense was successful against a supposedly formidable Clippers. "Everyone in the league knows they are one of the most talented teams. I think they'll get better over time, but that's the hardest part of the race. The hardest part is going through the ups and downs and strengthening the run-in together. They're going to build continuity and luckily we did that well tonight and we tried to improve the confrontation and make them lose their positions and chances. ”

When the Clippers were defeated by Reggie Jackson: Will they regret it at this moment?

Being traded is a good thing for Reggie in terms of results, as he earned a championship ring with the Nuggets. But he didn't play much of the Nuggets' playoff rotation, playing just 18 minutes in total after the regular season last season. Now is the time for Reggie to shine. His career night came just before Murray's expected comeback, which could be as soon as Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets. If Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone wants to, Reggie will be just as dynamic against the rest of the league.

"When Jamal Murray was out injured, Reggie was on the court and he was at a very high level," Malone said Monday night. "He loves playing against the Clippers and he's played really well in both games against that kind of team. I asked him that whoever we play against for the rest of the season, he has to tell himself: I'm going to play against the Clippers again. Because he played well against the Clippers. But I'm proud of him because it's not easy for him to play for a team and not get the success he expected. What's more, he can't help the team as well as I know. ”

"But now he's done it, and it's largely because of his experience, his maturity, his demeanor and the work ethic he's shown throughout the summer in preseason and training camp. ”

Read on