The Clippers lost in absolutely gut-wrenching fashion on Tuesday. They were up one with the ball with nine seconds to play and managed to lose in regulation, falling behind 2-0 for the third time this postseason.
And yet, you would have no idea based on how Reggie Jackson walked into the postgame press conference.
It has been well-documented that Jackson is always in a good mood, despite the sticky situations the Clippers find themselves in. He wore a hoodie with a smiley emoji after the team lost its first two games to Dallas and said there were no worries. He was similarly chipper after the Game 2 loss against Utah, and after this latest defeat, Jackson said he felt great.
“We’d like to not dig these 0-2 holes, but we are enjoying the game,” Jackson said. “Any time that you lace up, it’s a challenge. We love to be challenged and we love to be tested and we like to find out who we are. All we can ask for is health and go out and play this game with the utmost ability that we can and the most joy that we can.”
For Jackson, that joy comes from the fact that he’s been in situations when he couldn’t compete before. Injuries almost cost him his career in Detroit, and he wasn’t sure if he could play at this level again, let alone in the conference finals. That’s reason enough to be positive.
Jackson was the source of optimism in the locker room, even after a loss that Patrick Beverley said was hard to swallow because they thought they had the game won. Paul George said, “Reg was one of the main ones to uplift everyone in the locker room. He’s been an unbelievable teammate to everybody, and so he’s just a positive guy, and you know, he just sees the big picture. And so you need guys like Reg in the locker room to just keep everybody cool-headed and ready to go for the next one.”
If the Clippers were down in the moment, they had seemingly moved past that by the time they spoke to the media. Beverley’s message was, “We’ve been in the trenches before. We respond well. We always do.”
George was similarly hopeful, buoyed by the experience of having gone through this process twice before in the past month, saying that the Clippers were more confident after this loss than before.
Confidence is one thing, and the Clippers have validated that confidence before. But this is a new opponent and a new series, and now is the time to get wins. That has to happen Thursday.
More news for Wednesday:
- David Thorpe explains how the Suns offense is exposing the Clippers defense.
- Andrew Greif chronicled the bloody, tense nature of Game 2.
- Terance Mann’s mother Daynia La-Force, an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, breaks down her son’s game.
- The Suns are optimistic that Chris Paul — who is quarantining in Los Angeles — will be able to return for Game 3.
- The Pistons won the NBA draft lottery thanks to the good vibes of Ben Wallace.
- Team USA has three more commits: Kevin Love, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. That leaves one more spot available.
- The competition committee has put in rules to limit non-basketball moves to draw fouls. Now, if they could only address replay.