Reggie Jackson reveals strong, 3-word message Tyronn Lue delivered to him in private office
LOS ANGELES – Reggie Jackson had been struggling in the last six games for the LA Clippers, and it’s been directly reflected in the team’s record. Head coach Tyronn Lue has continued to show confidence in his starting point guard, allowing Jackson to play through his worst shooting stretch with the hopes that he’ll find his touch sooner rather than later.
Monday’s MLK Day matinee at Crypto dot com Arena marked the Clippers’ final home game before an eight-game, 14-day road trip across the East Coast. With a short-handed Indiana Pacers team on deck, Lue knew his team desperately needed to find way to win and carry that onto the road.
Prior to the game, Tyronn Lue was asked about the struggles of both Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris over the last six games.
“Well dang,” Lue chuckled at the question. “It’s just not making shots, you know. I think they’re getting their shots. I know that Reggie was frustrated, mad at himself, because he’s getting good shots that he’s not making, but, that’s part of the game. So you can’t let that deter you from doing all the things on the floor, because he can pass the basketball. He can get to the free-throw line. And then, defensively, we’ve just go to be better.
Jackson had been shooting just 29.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from three in his last six coming into Monday while Morris was at 37.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three in his last five. The Clippers went 2-4 in their last six games, with wins over Denver and Atlanta as well as losses to San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis, and Phoenix.
“You can’t get sideways because you’re not making shots,” Lue added. “All players go through that throughout the course of the season. So they’re our two guys we’re gonna play through and so, when they play well, we play well — that’s a lot of pressure to put on somebody, but when those two guys right now play well, we typically play well with PG and Kawhi and those guys being out. So hopefully we can have a better game today.”
Following his pre-game press conference, Coach Lue grabbed his breakfast from the catering stand and headed back to his locker room no more than 100 feet away. Just prior to the team’s final meeting in the locker room before game-time, he called to Reggie Jackson asked him to step into his office.
Jackson recalled the conversation with Lue before tipoff.
“The biggest thing for myself today was coach brought me in right before our meeting. He’s like, ‘Reggie, I want to talk to you.’
‘Ah man. I wonder what he wants to talk about?’ Jackson thought to himself.
‘It’s only like a minute,’ Lue added.
Reggie Jackson puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform, and perform well. He says all the right things, has the right mindset, but in the middle of a shooting slump when your team needs you most, the walls can quickly shrink around you.
A slightly nervous Jackson walked into Tyronn Lue’s office and took a seat in front of his desk, fully aware that he needed to be better for his Clippers and unsure what coach could want to say to him privately in his office.
“I walked in, and he’s like, ‘Go have fun. Forget everything else, just go have fun.’ I’m like, ‘Alright.'”
Jackson remained seated, waiting for the real conversation to start.
“‘What you still in my locker room for?'” Lue asked him. “‘Yo, you can go on.'”
That’s when Reggie Jackson made the switch.
“I was like, ‘Oh snap.’ I thought [it was going to be] a big talk, or something else. I told him from there, I’m just going to smile. I’m going to force myself to smile. Xavier Moon, I was chatting with him, me and him had a thing going on about it. It was fun. Just smile, have fun. That was my message to everybody else, more so tell them that so I can remind myself just have fun. Go out there, leave it all out there on the floor, don’t worry about the results but just have fun, and I think today that was a big thing for me and really playing with force. I think I’ve been getting more tired avoiding contact, running around, everything. Just enjoying, remembering that this is a contact sport, trying to impose my will and taking on the challenge. That was the fun part for me.”
Jackson went out and had fun, finishing with 26 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals in the Clippers’ 139-133 win over the Indiana Pacers. He scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and 15 of his 26 in the fourth quarter alone.
Reggie Jackson’s fourth quarter included a pair of thunderous dunks that got both the crowd and himself going.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 17, 2022
On the night, the Clippers finished with 32 assists on 45 made field goals, their fifth highest total of the season. The constant ball movement, man movement, and trust in the extra pass allowed them to get good looks all night. LA won’t shoot 55 percent from the field or 50 percent from three every night, and most nights, that’s not what the focus will be.
Instead, the keys will continue to be trusting the extra pass and not getting caught up in too many isolation plays. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out, the Clippers are simply not good enough to win games if they don’t share the ball.
“We just gotta continue to play, attack, make the right pass,” Tyronn Lue said. “A lot of times, it’s hard for us to create options when we can get into the paint and make the right play, but tonight I thought we did a good job of just attacking the paint and when they came to help, we made the right play and the right pass. So just got to continue to build off this one and continue to get better.”
The Clippers begin their eight game road trip in Denver against the Nuggets on Wednesday night. The lengthy trip, also known as the annual Grammy trip, has the Clippers making stops in Denver, Philadelphia, New York, Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, and Indiana before coming home for a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 3rd.