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Reggie Jackson, in Year 2 with the Clippers, keeps fine-tuning his game – Press Telegram

Reggie Jackson plays basketball. Like it’s a game, or an instrument.

Even Charlie Parker probably blew a bad note or two. Maybe. Jackson – a skipping, whirling, shifty guard – is no different.

He’s got love for the look-away pass and a habit of dropping his hands to his side as soon as the play’s done for. He lives teetering on the edge between dazzling and tomfoolery – leaning, of late, toward the former.

Despite how it looks, though, Jackson insists his intentions are more fundamental than flashy.

“I’m just trying to be a steady hand on this team,” he said this week, when, in the Clippers’ two wins and one loss – all blowouts of substantial proportions – Jackson averaged 10 points and shot 52.4% from the floor and 46.2% from 3-point range.

The 6-foot-3 guard also had seven assists and just two turnovers, four steals and even a blocked shot on Minnesota’s 6-8 Jake Layman – as well as another equally fearless attempted block on Jarred Vanderbilt’s alley-oop throwdown. (“Wish I could’ve went two for two, but hey,” Jackson said, “that’s how it goes sometimes.”)

On Dec. 1, Jackson signed a one-year deal to keep that same spirit with the Clippers, returning to the team he joined in February after arranging for a buyout from Detroit, where he’d played five-plus seasons.

He’s averaged 12.8 points and 4.4 assists for his career, and in 17 regular-season games last season with the Clippers, he put up 9.5 points and 3.2 assists.

His production and playing time dissipated in the postseason, when he displayed iffy shot selection and averaged just 4.9 points and less than an assist – and recorded no stats at all in 4:59 minutes of action in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series against Denver.

But so far in this, his 10th season, with former point guards-turned-coaches Tyronn Lue and Chauncey Billups providing guidance from the sideline, and the bubble experience filed away, Jackson has been steady, as intended.

He said he’s feeling more comfortable with his role, which, he said, is to get the ball to guys where they’re most effective, to ease everyone else’s load offensively, and to “keep guys’ spirits high, make sure they’re getting the looks that they need and try to find a way to score when need be, to keep guys honest.”

“I just feel like I’m starting to figure it out, slowly but surely,” added Jackson, the 30-year-old from Boston College. “I’m just trying to get better each and every day.”

Clippers All-Star Paul George said Jackson’s evolution is noticeable, and that he’s done his best to aid his pal in the process.

“Just spending time in the gym with him, being on the floor with him, staying after practices with him, just a lot of stuff to build on-floor chemistry,” George said. “And he’s a veteran guard, he’s good. He’s led a team of his own, so we expect a lot from him. He’s here to contribute in a big way.”



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