“Spurs killer” Jackson on Pop’s radar

By Fran Blinebury, NBA.com

“Every time I see Ibaka or hear the name, 11-for-11 goes through my head.”

That was Gregg Popovich talking to reporters early on Friday afternoon.

So you figured the Spurs coach was relaxing with his feet up with a nice Malbec in his hand once word spread that Thunder forward Serge Ibaka could have been lost for the rest of the playoffs with a calf injury?

Of course, that would only mean you need to enroll in a course of “Remedial Pop” before the start of the Western Conference finals on Monday.

The last thing Pop wants to hear about is the door being pushed open wider for his Spurs to return to The Finals. He only sees trapdoors.

Even before the loss of the shot-blocking whiz, Popovich and his staff were fretting over Reggie Jackson.

While everyone knows Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will get theirs, it’s Jackson who has been a huge problem for the Spurs in losing all four games to OKC this season.

“If anybody watched our games, they watched Reggie Jackson basically be the Spurs killer any time we played them,” Popovich said.

Over the course of the entire season, Jackson averaged 13.1 points, 2.7 assists and shot 43.1 percent from the field. But in those four Spurs losses, Jackson averaged 21.2 points, 4.3 assists, shot 67.3 percent from the field and connected on 66.7 percent of his 3-pointers.

Of course, Ibaka’s loss will be felt most on the defensive end, where he has the ability to control the paint and prevent Spurs point guard Tony Parker from getting to the spots where he can do the most damage. The sheer numbers show that San Antonio averages 108 points per 100 possessions, except when Ibaka is on the floor. Then the Spurs production drops to 93 per 100 possessions.

There is virtually no way the Thunder will be able to cover up for the absence of Ibaka on defense. Nick Collison is older and slower. Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb are younger and untested and have not been prepared. Can you really expect Steven Adams to knock over the furniture for 35-40 minutes per game? Can you ask much more from Durant?

For the Thunder to win now will most likely require a lot more offense. And that’s where Jackson comes in.

Ask Pop and his mouth will pucker like he’s taken a sip from a wine bottle with a twist-off cap. The Spurs killer has left a bad taste behind.

21 Comments

  1. Fox says:

    So then they will face the heat and lose again, lol

  2. overTHERE says:

    I think Reggie is a great young athletic player, he very much benefits from playing along all stars like KD and RW. Same applies with Ibaka, I think with all the defensive attention being geared to KD and RW that both Reggie and Ibaka have been great at getting good looks and spreading the floor. I’m just wondering if with Ibaka out will Jackson still be able to get those same looks since they’ll probably gamble a little more off on the remaining OKC bigs. I had the xfactors in the series set to Ibaka for OKC and Leonard for San Antonio. I’m not a stat expert but if I remember correctly while Jackson has had great games against San Antonio, didn’t Durant and Westbrook have season low all around offensive numbers against San Antonio?

    Anyways now I’m not exactly sure about how OKC will be defensively. Ibaka is such a defensive force in the paint. He makes everyone big or small work extra hard to get anything in the paint, which leads to settling for less efficient shots with more misses, second guessing and most importantly more fatigue.

    Big bodies like Perkins/Adams and Collison too, can definitely take up space but they don’t have the same effect a dominant shot blocker has on typically great penetrating guards and I can see Parker, Ginobili, Kawhi, even Belinelli getting good looks in the paint and also getting a lot of fouls by Adams especially who seems to goon up the works in every game. Hoping he doesn’t hurt any spurs players because if they do advance they can’t beat a Heat or Indiana team with an injured starter. Last time they played Kawhi broke his hand on Adams, who in fairness didn’t mean to do it but these kinda things seem to just follow him.

  3. Mike says:

    This is a completely ludicrous article… some of the best wines in the world now have twist caps.

  4. rafael says:

    I belive in my spurs 100% ……. go spurs win in 5

  5. okcDoke2014 says:

    Doubt OKC can afford KD or MW much longer and more endorsements for them in bigger market. Look at Miami as example

  6. Alex Gil says:

    Great season for OKC this year. Still lots of growing up to do. Even with Ibaka, discipline and situational decision making are lacking. The good news is the Championships are coming for all to enjoy.

  7. okcDoke2014 says:

    Thunder’s best team behind them unless they bring in Defensive and team ball minded players

  8. vencedor says:

    OKC has a good future ahead of them. They have a lot of upcoming potentials. This year somehow is still not their year, unfortunately.

  9. Chris says:

    Jackson isn’t a good three point shooter. Yet some Of those threes he hit against the spurs were contested too. He’s a career 29.5% 3pt shooter for reference. Either he’s getting lucky, or he has a special spurs switch somewhere on his body.

  10. okcDoke2014 says:

    Spurs will be beyond prepared and will prevail ! Tune up series for Spurs

  11. KDfan says:

    The situation is different now. It’s the playoffs. Pop by now, I’m sure, has a game plan for Reggie. Plus Ibaka being a two-way-player, is irreplaceable. Scottie has no choice but to go small. Play Reggie at guard, Russ at SG/SF and KD at PF (at the risk of getting into foul trouble early). Offense will be the only best form of defense for us now as opposed to our conventional defensive stops leading to offense. The whole paradigm has changed. We learned slowly to play without Russ in the lineup in the regular season. But the playoffs and the Spurs are a different monster (no pun intended).

    • Brian I.E says:

      @kd Fan – So you definitely think OKC will lose right?

      @Chris – Kawhi has been getting two quick ones lately. Usually in the first couple min of both the first and second q. Like you said foul trouble is a problem but I think Spurs bench play should be a solid answer to that. YES SIR!!! As long as the bench is consistent for SAS, OKCs Bench can not match it with their current roster.

      I really think this is a solid path to become championship ready even tho Ibaka is out, OKC is a solid contender and they bring an excellent challenge but might fall short due to the rotation on the bench from the Spurs. OKC does not have a great center either and I think that will be a great chance for Tim and Splitter to do some nasty in the paint, shoot even the red rocket! who knows!

      #InPopITrust #GoSpursGO

  12. Yes Sir says:

    Spurs will adjust as they always have. Especially with no Ibaka. Not forgetting about the rest of the Thunder but yeah. Their bench will have to show up big time to compete. No solid bench play means no chance for OKC.

    • Chris says:

      I worry about foul trouble more than anything. Whether badly called or legit, the thunder are gonna get to the line.. Thunder will try to bait Kawhi into calls early. It’s hard to defend them when the best defenders miss game time with foul trouble. The spurs have done a pretty good job keeping KD away from the line.

  13. okc2014 says:

    That’s right Pop! Be very afraid of Reggie Jackson! OKC2014!

  14. justsayin says:

    If youre going to give Adams 40 minutes you had better give him 12 fouls!

  15. Brainundrum says:

    Spurs in 5.

    • Othmar Bakir says:

      Nice daydreaming!

      • Chris says:

        OKC’s defense generates fast break points. Lack of Ibaka will make that much harder on the Thunder, as the difference when Ibaka off the court is huge. He is far too important to the thunders defense. You’re not gonna beat the spurs in a 7 game series by out shooting them.