Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Clippers’ Reggie Jackson remains upbeat amid role change

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LOS ANGELES — One coach stood up and signaled for Reggie Jackson, who was in the tunnel staying warm on a stationary bike, to get into the game. No response.

A second coach stood up and waved for Jackson to hurry. This time, the Clippers guard jumped off the bike, shed his black hoodie, adjusted his ever-present goggles and entered the game with 2:28 left in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.

His slow reaction is understandable. He has spent a lot of time lately at the end of the bench, watching others take over ball-handling duties, first Terance Mann and then All-Star Paul George. So, Jackson wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.

He landed the first of three 3-pointers in the waning seconds of the quarter, adding two more and one assist before halftime of the Clippers’ 133-115 victory over the Lakers.

He re-entered the game late in the third and scored on a floater with 1:10 left, was on the court during crunch time and finished with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 26 minutes.

Jackson, whose positivity permeates the locker room, said he isn’t bothered by his recent demotion, which came after a string of unimpressive performances. He played only eight minutes against Atlanta on Jan. 8, followed by a four-point, five-turnover game against Houston.

“I just want to win so I don’t care how much I am playing, I really don’t,” Jackson said. “As long as we win, I’ll be alright. I’m an end-goal person. It’s a process. I’m just interested in the end goal. That’s it.”

Jackson also doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he could be gone before the end of the season. He has been mentioned in several trade rumors ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

He is in the final year of a two-year, $22 million contract extension he signed in 2021 and his recent slump had made him an easy target.

Do trade rumors bother you?

“No.”

Seriously?

“No. No. Who cares? It’s another day. We just gotta play,” he said. “You control what you can control.”

PG MOVES UP ON CAREER 3-POINT LIST

Paul George made his 1,951st 3-point basket in the second quarter, passing J.J. Redick for sole possession of 17th place on the NBA’s career list. He finished 3 for 9 from behind the arc on Tuesday, just part of the Clippers’ barrage of shots from 3-point range (19 for 38).

INJURY UPDATE

Forward Marcus Morris Sr. left the game with a rib contusion he suffered in the first quarter. He played just 10 minutes. … Luke Kennard could return from a lingering calf injury as soon as Thursday. The guard has missed nine consecutive games and 21 overall this season. … Point guard John Wall remains sidelined because of an abdominal injury and will be evaluated in another week.

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