The Oklahoma City Thunder reeled off their fifth straight win after handing the San Antonio Spurs a loss on Wednesday night. Over the past two weeks, OKC has made statement after statement with big wins over great teams like the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers. The absence of Russell Westbrook has proven to have minimal affect as they continue to succeed without their All-Star point guard.
Kevin Durant continued his dominance in the month of January en route to his ninth straight game with 30 or more points. It was no secret that KD had to dig deep to find his inner leader without Westbrook on the court. He has weathered the storm with outstanding performances, but Reggie Jackson has also done his best to make Durant feel comfortable without his sidekick.
Jackson put on his best Westbrook impersonation tonight by scoring 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting and dishing out eight assists. Jackson has proven that he can lead the Thunder against the NBA‘s elite teams. He went off for 11 straight points in the fourth quarter, securing the win for his team. Durant put the nail in the coffin with two late three pointers, but Jackson’s clutch performance put them in the perfect position to upend the Spurs on their home court.
Since the beginning of December, Jackson has only failed to score double-figures in just two out of 29 games played. His contribution to the team’s success should not be overlooked in lieu of Durant’s supremacy. Jackson’s production will be a key factor in the Thunder’s chances of winning a championship, even after Westbrook returns. He is capable of scoring effectively from the bench, so his role doesn’t change as the sixth man.
Now that Jackson has solidified his spot on the team as a reliable competitor, the Thunder can focus more on the development of Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams, who have been solid over the past few weeks as well. With everything falling in place for these young players, the Thunder’s chances at winning their first title seem better than ever.