The LA Clippers' historic postseason run to the Western Conference Finals came to an end in Game 6, with the franchise now facing an interesting offseason ahead.
With Kawhi Leonard sidelined for the entire series, the Clippers battled to extend the series to this point, before ultimately succumbing to the No. 2 seed Phoenix Suns.
In Leonard's absence, point guard Reggie Jackson stepped up in a major way, averaging 20.3 points per game and connecting on 36 percent of his 3-pointers, almost doubling his scoring mark from the regular season of 10.7.
An emotional and tearful Reggie Jackson talks about how much this team and his best friend Paul George have meant to him and his career. pic.twitter.com/9esDrS3P1U- Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) July 1, 2021
"I'm extremely proud of this team. It sucks that it's cut short of our ultimate goal this year of winning a championship but I couldn't be prouder," Jackson said postgame.
"With all the adversity and injuries, everybody dealing with health protocol, guys in and out of the lineup. This team never made excuses, they put in work each and every day and I think we got everything we deserved. I haven't had too many better season or been in a locker room with a better group. This was a family, we really found a way to adjust. We came together and did something special."
Jackson's offensive explosion complimented Paul George, whom Jackson has long had a close friendship with. Set to hit free agency in the coming weeks, an emotional Jackson described his time with the Clippers as one of the best experiences of his sporting life.
"First thing I told these guys was thank you for saving me. I appreciate every guy in that locker room, I appreciate Paul for getting on the phone at the end of last season when it was time to do a buy out with Detroit," Jackson said.
"I'm thankful for everything I've experienced here, the city for making me feel at home, this organisation welcoming me, my quirks, my strengths, my weaknesses. I thank them for everything. I ride with those guys. That's what makes this one tougher, it makes this one extremely tough."
"It's made the highs much more high, it's made the lows easier to deal with. Once you have a guy truly in your corner each and every day, a guy you've built a relationship with for ten years, someone that you trust, somebody that you call family, you know you're never dealing with tough moments by yourself or celebrating joyous moments by yourself. It's been good to have that man in my corner for the last year and a half," Jackson said of George.
🗣AND ONE pic.twitter.com/juSIMP0ptK- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) July 1, 2021
A disappointed George drew a smile when describing his time playing with Jackson, before weighing in on his upcoming decision.
"Obviously Reggie has played himself into some options for sure coming down to his free agency. Rightfully so, he played his ass off but of course I would love Reggie to come back if that is an option. I'll try my best to play my role to get him back."
"The committment I made signing my contract was to show that I'm here for the long run. I'm committed to this team, hopefully that weighs on anybodies decision but there's no hard feelings, these guys got decisions to make on their own. I haven't talked to anyone but hopefully this is where they want to grow and do something special. I'm going to definitely try my hardest to recruit and that's all I can do."
Heading into the playoffs nobody could have predicted this type of run from the veteran guard, though no matter what comes in the next few months, he will always remember his run with the 2021 Clippers.
"This city has been special to me. I can't predict the future, I have no idea what happens but this city, this organisation, this fanbase are special. They hold a special place in my heart. I'll forvever be a Clipper."
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