Overall, Reggie Jackson should be proud of the way he played in his first NBA playoffs series as the starting point guard of his 'own team.'
Over four games, on the offensive end he made big buckets at key moments, he was aggressive in taking it to the rack and averaged 9.3 assists against 2.5 turnovers; on defense, we saw Jackson work as hard as we have ever seen him and it was certainly successful at times. These stats are not tell all for the quality of defense one plays, but Jackson averaged 1.5 steals and half a block per game in the playoffs after averaging less than a steal and just 0.1 blocks per game during the regular season.
The energy Jackson expended throughout the series on both ends no doubt took its toll on his outside shot. He was just 17 percent from three and 0-6 in the decisive Game 4, including the three at the buzzer that fell short.
Here is another look at that potential game winner:
I'm not going to kill Jackson for it, because the fact we even had a final shot was good enough for me, but let's be honest: the final shot wasn't a good shot.
It must be incredibly hard to come up with a hero moment on the fly, no timeouts, especially with a defender in your back pocket, but the money shot wasn't leaning into your defender, trying to draw a foul. Jackson already knew and had spoken out about how the whistles were blowing (or not at all) this series. It was going to take almost a flagrant foul in that situation to get the refs to call something on the Cavs.
As you can see, Jackson had Irving beat off the dribble and a wide open lane, where Jackson is undoubtedly much more successful, especially during the playoffs. He chose to be the guy, which I respect and don't have any quibbles about, because he has successfully assumed that role in the fourth quarter all year, but he tried to do it with a shot he hadn't been good at making while trying to draw a whistle that hadn't been good about blowing. Those were conscious decisions on Jackson's part.
After the game, Jackson spoke out against the refs (via MLIVE):
"We got a stop with no timeouts, Kyrie decided to pick up early and prevent me from taking a good shot," Jackson said. "I tried to find a good look, and, uh ..."
That's when Jackson let it rip.
Upset over a no-call, one that perhaps could have been called on a bump from Irving before Jackson pulled up from 26 feet, he said NBA officials need a system in place to hold them responsible.
"Fines, suspensions, being fired," Jackson said. "The same thing that happens to us. Make bad plays or questionable (calls), you're not really being productive to the sport. They should have consequences, just like the players. That's about (all) I'm going to say on that."
I'm not saying Jackson's wrong for what he said about the NBA flivver that is often NBA officiating. He's absolutely right actually -- refs should be held accountable. He'll probably get fined for pointing that out. But at some point I wouldn't hate to hear him take responsibility for not successfully doing what he can actually control. He needs to create a better shot (even if it's still a poor percentage game-winning three) or he needs to be more aggressive or he needs to know better than to rely on a foul being called at that moment, which he should surely know now. That's all.
I know a lot of fans think he was clearly fouled and it should have been called, no ifs ands or buts about it, so you might think Jackson has every right to focus his frustration on the refs. Have your say in the comments below.