The most worrisome matchup for the Thunder on Monday night turned out to be no big deal. That’s because Reggie Jackson handled his business. Jackson, starting in place of a resting Russell Westbrook, played Denver points guard Ty Lawson to a virtual draw while looking as comfortable as ever running with the first string in the Thunder’s 117-96 win over the Nuggets. Jackson was in control the whole way, complementing another terrific effort by Kevin Durant by orchestrating OKC’s offense and making smart decisions in halfcourt sets while also supplying solid and steady defense at the point of the ball, the place the Thunder needed it most. By the end of the night, Jackson scored 16 points with a game- and career-high 11 assists in 34 minutes. He made four of six shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts. It was his second consecutive double-double, following a marvelous 25-point, 12-rebound performance Friday at Toronto, arguably his best game as a pro. Lawson, a perennial Thunder pest, scored a team-high 25 points with seven assists. But unlike past meetings, Lawson wasn’t the same lightning bolt that burned the Thunder throughout with both transition buckets and blazing drives into the teeth of the defense. He was 5-for-11 from the field and 13 of 16 from the foul line in 33 minutes. Jackson was pivotal in limiting Lawson, staying in front of him and stopping his slashes to the rim with textbook defense. When the Thunder switched or matched up with substitutions, Jackson was equally sound against Nuggets shooting guard Randy Foye and reserve Aaron Brooks. “His defense on those little guards was pretty good,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. Brooks has made similar statements about Jackson since the Thunder’s win at Chicago. Perhaps non-coincidentally, that’s when the Thunder’s current four-game winning streak began. Westbrook was held out for rest in two of those wins.
Reggie Jackson delivers as Thunder crushes Nuggets
The Oklahoman | Mar 25