AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – After the Thunder beat the Pistons in November, Russell Westbrook acted as if he’d never heard of Reggie Jackson.
Westbrook sure knew who Jackson was on Tuesday.
Jackson was the guy hopping around the court celebrating Detroit’s 88-82 win over his former team.
“Honestly, I think it’s some real bullshit,” Westbrook said. “I don’t appreciate it from our team and our organization. I don’t like it all. But it is what is. We’ll see him down the line. We’ll take care of that when we get there.
“It doesn’t matter. Honestly, he wasn’t changing nothing for us. Obviously, he didn’t want to be here. He’s in a better spot. He’s not doing too much of a difference, if you ask me.
Jackson had a very bitter end with Oklahoma City, which traded him to the Pistons last season. In Detroit, Jackson has escaped Westbrook’s shadow and become the Pistons starting point guard, even drawing All-Star consideration.
If Westbrook thinks Jackson isn’t making a difference here, he doesn’t realize how underwhelming Detroit’s point guard situation was with D.J. Augustin, John Lucas III and an injured Brandon Jennings. Jackson isn’t Westbrook, but he can still help a team.
It’s also hypocritical for Westbrook to call out an opponent for histrionics. Westbrook shows off plenty himself – and I have no problem with that. It’s an emotional game.
Jackson has slumped lately, but he dunked and made 4-of-4 free throws in crunch time to help the Pistons pull out the win. While the Thunder looked locked into the No. 3 seed in the West – they rested Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka tonight – Detroit is in the heat of a playoff race.
Why shouldn’t Jackson be excited? And if he’s excited, why shouldn’t he show it?
Some of Jackson’s joy was certainly directed at the Thunder, but so what? You’ll see plenty of more extravagant celebrations around the league.
To be fair, Westbrook wasn’t the only Oklahoma City player to take exception to Jackson. “I’m surprised, that’s all. It says a lot about him. Keep it up here,” Steven Adams said pointing at his head, “for next time. He can do whatever.”
But with Westbrook, when it comes to Jackson, it always seems personal – which is great. I disagree with Westbrook’s stance, but I love that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. These petty feuds make the sport more fun.
It was a frustrating night for Westbrook, who shot 8-for-28. He also stumbled on an Aron Baynes screen as his nemesis drove for his late dunk:
Even after the game, Westbrook dropped his plastic knife on the floor as he handled his dinner. Westbrook threw up his hands, as if to say, what else could go wrong?
Then, he delivered a message for Jackson.
“He’s going stay over here in Detroit. We’re going to stay over here,” Westbrook said. “We’ll see them next season.”