Reggie Jackson was his own harshest critic after the Oklahoma City Thunder's heavy 117-89 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
The guard, who played through an ankle injury he suffered in Game 4, was not happy with his own work defending Danny Green, and said he would have even had trouble covering Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Jackson said: “I personally felt they were attacking me. Gregg Popovich himself could have thrown on a jersey – if I was guarding him he could have had a hockey assist, an assist and a basket.”
He added: “I did a p*** poor job tonight.”
Jackson, starting his third consecutive game in Game 5 having come off the bench for the majority of the season, has provided a big boost to the Thunder over the course of the Western Conference Finals.
Coach Scott Brooks elevated him to the starting lineup in Game 3 with Oklahoma City down 2-0, and the team responded with consecutive wins to tie the series.
Jackson started strongly in Game 5, making all of his first five shots, but he did not make a field goal for the rest of the game.
The guard appeared to be limping in the third quarter, and was a non-factor from then on. His ankle is clearly still giving him trouble, even though in the post-game interview he claimed that he felt no pain.
With Kawhi Leonard guarding Russell Westbrook and Danny Green on Kevin Durant, it is important to Oklahoma City that Jackson takes advantage of the matchup against the defensively deficient Tony Parker.
If Jackson can get on a roll in Game 6 and maintain it, San Antonio's defenders will be forced to help, freeing up the Thunder's stars.
Defensively, Jackson must be able to cover Green one-on-one. Westbrook is preoccupied with guarding Parker, and the Thunder cannot afford to play with a liability on that side of the ball.
Oklahoma City will be confident of picking up the win on home turf in Game 6 and taking the series to a decider in Texas. However, if the Thunder are to have any chance of going into San Antonio and pulling off an unlikely series victory their role players must out-perform the Spurs', and Jackson will be a key factor.