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Clippers Need Jackson To Be Himself…

The home opener for the Los Angeles Clippers this past Sunday came in with a lot of anticipation in front of their home fan base. 

Their first two games were on the road (the opener was at arena albeit against the cross-town rival Lakers) so this team was excited to be in front of their fan base. Two of LA’s own famous rappers DJ Quick and Suga Free were expected to perform at halftime of this much anticipated home game, so the arena was going to be rocking. 

Now, with the crowd and everyone else in the arena was ready, unfortunately the team didn’t come out ready. They trailed the entire game and fell to the Phoenix Suns 112-95. They were outplayed from the beginning as Phoenix jumped on them 11-0 early. 

But what I took from the loss the other night, was where was Reggie Jackson?

He has started in all three games thus far, but hasn’t played like the Jackson that has become a fan favorite since arriving to LA back in 2019. He hasn’t been aggressive, getting to the basket, or making splash plays fans and his teammates saw last season. 

In 24 minutes, he didn’t make a single field goal (0-5) and never found himself at the freethrow line. He had double-digit field goal attempts in 70 of the 75 games he played in last season and averaged 16.8 ppg.   

“Reggie has to be more aggressive,” Head coach Ty Lue said while explaining that Jackson’s minute restriction was a reason why Wall started the second half of Sunday night’s loss. “Just because Kawhi is back and PG, whatever, we still need to be aggressive, looking to score the basketball and attacking. Right now, he hasn’t been attacking, being aggressive. So we got to get him back to the normal Reggie.”

Jackson played an integral role for this team last season, especially without superstar Kawhi Leonard who was out as he recovered from a torn ACL and without All-Star Paul George who only played in 31 games. They’re both back and healthy, so has that been the reason Jackson has taken a step back?

Last season, he was the catalyst for a lot of this team’s success last season when they came back from 13 double-digit deficits because of some of the performances he put on. So this team is well aware of what Jackson brings to this team, but he hasn’t seemed to play with that same energy in the three games this early season. 

They don’t need him to be the Jackson that attempted 16.3 field goals last season, but they need him to be aggressive. The addition of John Wall this off season has been a major boost to the backcourt, in two games as he’s helped pour in 16.0 ppg and has helped energize this team coming off the bench. 

This team is picked by some to be the biggest threat to the world champion Golden State Warriors in the Western conference, and if they are going to achieve their expectations they need Jackson to be Jackson.  

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