Reggie Jackson gave an Oscar speech Monday night.
The Detroit Pistons point guard was feeling thankful after scoring 24 of a team-high 26 points in the second half of a key 109-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and was 10-for-10 from the field in the second half.
The big scoring evening came two nights after he broke out of a prolonged slump with 21 points in a blowout victory at the Philadelphia 76ers.
But he deflected the credit.
He wanted to put the focus on his teammates and the organization that remained supportive throughout this nightmarish season.
“At times, you start to feel sorry for yourself, but I had to fight that,” Jackson said. “You just got to just go out here and play.
“What helped me, for the most part, was watching the team play well. Throughout my struggles, they kept picking me up and find a way to get wins.
“I just thank them. I thank them for how they played often. The team, the organization stuck with me through this process.
“I thank them today for just backing me, and riding me to the end. … I know they’ve seen it. It’s been a tough year for me, personally, but it’s gonna be one of my better memories when I look back on basketball.”
The Pistons, 10-6 since Feb. 1, moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, as they hold the tiebreaker by winning two of three games against the Bulls (31-32). The fourth game comes March 22 at Chicago. They are just one game behind the sixth-place Pacers. The Pistons are in Indiana on Wednesday night.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy decided to let Jackson have the entire fourth quarter after limiting him to roughly 6-minute bursts of playing time in Saturday night’s victory at Philadelphia.
“Tonight, obviously, Reggie had it going,” Van Gundy said. “It would have been crazy to pull him out at that time.
“It’s not gonna be 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes all the time.”
In the fourth quarter, Jackson reminded onlookers of last season when he was one of the best clutch scorers in the league.
He made perfect pick-and-rolls reads, getting to the basket when it was there. When it wasn’t, he pulled up for his running floater.
His three-point play with 3:13 remaining gave the Pistons a 102-88 lead.
After every positive play, the bench would erupt and point at the red-hot Jackson.
“It was great for us,” Marcus Morris said. “Reggie really played downhill. He played loose. He got his self together. He was looking for his shot and played aggressive, and he was still looking to make the pass. Reggie’s a great player and it was good to see him take over a game.”
The Pistons (31-32) took control of a game that was tied at 79 going into the fourth quarter.
Jackson added six assists.
Jon Leuer finished with 16 points, and Andre Drummond finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Drummond returned to his free-throw routine of walking to center court to slow down his thoughts before going to the line, and finished 4-for-8 from the line with the Bulls aggressively intentionally fouling the poor free-throw shooter.
Aron Baynes scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half.
The Bulls were without Dwayne Wade (left quad) and Rajon Rondo (right ankle).
The Pistons aggressively double-teamed Bulls star Jimmy Butler, but he still finished with 27 points.
Detroi Free Press