NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

Reggie Jackson Continues to Grow in 2013 NBA Playoffs

Reggie Jackson and Scott Brooks

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder were up by a point in game one of their series with the Memphis Grizzlies with just under five seconds left of play. Thunder guard, Reggie Jackson, headed to the free throw line to attempt a couple of the biggest shots in his career.

The Thunder crowd cheered on Jackson as he approached the charity stripe, chanting “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie!”

It could have been easy for the second year player to miss his free throws in such a crucial, clutch moment, but with ice in his veins, Jackson sank both of his freebies and ultimately provided the difference in a pivotal first game.

Jackson has been thrown into the fire in this year’s NBA playoffs, taking over the role of All-Star point guard, Russell Westbrook, after his season-ending knee injury. Even though Jackson is not nearly the player Westbrook is, he has done his job in contributing greatly for the Thunder.

Jackson has averaged 13.7 points in this year’s playoffs on 46 percent shooting, along with 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 0.4 steals.

There was much question encompassing Thunder nation after news broke of Westbrook being done for the rest of the playoffs. Thunder All-Star, Kevin Durant, would undoubtedly contribute on a nightly basis for his team, but nobody really knew how Jackson would fare in filling the void that was left by Westbrook.

Jackson does not need to take over offensively for this Thunder team, but he certainly needs to play solid minutes on a consistent basis.

And thus far, he has done an astounding job. In the absence of Westbrook, Jackson has proven he can lead the Thunder offense and create shots for his teammates. He moves with the ball, stays aggressive by driving to the rim and does a great job of finding open teammates.

If Jackson can continue the trend of developing game by game in the playoffs, the Thunder will have a much higher chance of returning to the Western Conference Finals. It will be tougher on Jackson as the playoffs progress, but if he has proven anything in his playoff performance thus far, it is that he is not afraid of high-pressure situations.

Jared Porter is an Oklahoma City Thunder writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JaredRyanPorter, or add him on Facebook